California and NCAA eyeball to eyeball

by | Oct 2, 2019 | BLOG

Gov. Newsom, James/YT grab

The state of California and the NCAA are now eyeball to eyeball. Which side will blink first?

Newsom signs bill 
On Monday, former college baseball player Gavin Newsom, now the governor of California, signed into law a bill permitting college athletes to align with agents and sign endorsement deals. In other words, they would be paid to play college sports. Newsom staged the signing ceremony with Lebron James at his side on Lebron’s HBO show. Former UConn and current WNBA star Diana Taurasi was also on the set.

NCAA prepared to challenge 
The NCAA opposes the law, claiming the distinction between amateurs and pros will be blurred. Proponents of the bill, including James, say big time college sports has been using athletes, while raking in billions of dollars over the years. No one has yet explained to me, why getting a free college education and the legal perks that go along with being a college athlete isn’t considered compensation, while the non-student athlete slugs through school amassing huge debt. But for the moment, put that argument on the back burner.

Eyeball to eyeball 
The NCAA says it is prepared to take California to court. Newsom is daring them to, stating that the Golden State has too many high profile schools and generates too much revenue for the NCAA to turn this into a court challenge. My bet is the NCAA will come up with a plan, before the law takes effect in 2023, that accommodates California and the other 49 states. Not to do so could lead to what some foresee as other states joining California and forming their own governing body for collegiate sports, leaving the NCAA on the sidelines.

For the moment, however, both sides are eyeball to eyeball, and I’m fascinated as to which side will blink first.