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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Goldstein

Welcome to The SBS Blog + Our First Debate!

Hi to everyone who reads this! You have found our new and improved blog! I am the Vice President of the Blog this year for the Sports Business Society and am excited for what this year will entail for the blog. The SBS has always had a blog but this year we are coming back stronger than ever with a new website, fresh ideas, and most importantly new members who are passionate about the the industry of Sports Business.

One idea we had for the blog this year is to be a repository for all things we do in the club that involve discussion but are not in prose. This will mainly include posting our radio shows and recapping and adding thoughts on speakers and debates.

So, since we just concluded our first meeting and our first debate, I thought I would give my own and the member's takeaways and analysis on our debate. The topic of discussion this week came from the recent news out of California about how California Lawmakers have just voted to undo N.C.A.A. amateurism. To briefly recap the bill, on the floor as the Fair Pay to Play Act, it would allow college athletes "to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness." The bill just cleared the California State Assembly unanimously by a vote of 72-0 and it has also provisionally made it through the State Senate. Now, it just needs to be approved by the Governor in the next 30 days to be ratified, at which point it is poised to go into effect on Jan 1, 2023.

In our debate, we recognized that there are both pros and cons to this bill. Some of the potential pitfalls to this legislation would be that very few college athletes are popular or marketable enough to actually be in a position to personally enjoy these privileges -- think Zion Williamson or Trevor Lawrence. Therefore, this bill would help the 1% of student-athletes in the most popular sports -- who are often in line for giant pay days immediately after they graduate and turn pro. There foreseeably would also be problems with how this will affect competition in major sports. Schools like USC and UCLA stand to have the most to gain as recruits will be more incentivized to come to California where they have the potential to profit from their likenesses, while every other state cannot offer those same benefits. The commissioner of the Pac-12 has publicly come out against this, one big reason being that it will hurt the natural competition of his conference. There could also be problems in the locker room too. Say a player misses practice for a commercial, or a team member feels wronged that their teammate is getting compensation when they think they deserve to be. This will give coaches, athletic directors and players themselves more headaches (which they do not need more of).

On the other side of the coin though, we found many positives to takeaway. For starters, who is the NCAA to say that these athletes, that make the NCAA and schools billions of dollars in revenue each year, are not entitled to monetary compensation beyond a scholarship when they are being exploited as long as they are a student athlete? While the exploitation of labor is as American as the Cheeseburger, it is not a tradition many Americans are proud of, especially in ILR. Another pro of this bill would be that many low income student athletes need an alternative source of income to support themselves. And with the long hours of a student athlete, they often lack the time to commit to another job. This ruling now gives these athletes a chance to earn money for the job they do. We also appreciated that this ruling could have a ripple effect across states. If a state truly fears losing student-athletes to California schools, this would incentivize them to push a bill of their own across the state legislature to compete in a changing American college sports scene.

We as a club definitely agreed with the point that federal legislation on the issue, if possible, would be the most beneficial course of action as it eliminates multiple critiques we had. However, we also recognized that California was leading by example. If they had not taken these steps, the conversation would be less constructive and positive than it is now. In just a week since California passed the bill, LeBron James, Bernie Sanders, and Tim Tebow have all used their bully pulpit to further the discussion and hopefully provide clarity on where we as a country stand on this.

It is up to the reader to come to their own conclusion on where they stand, and for it to be malleable as new information comes in. But for me, if this legislation gets us any closer to making this a reality, call me a fan.

Here's to a great semester ahead!

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