James Wiseman Decision and the NIL Compensation Timeline Proves NCAA is not Rushing to Change

NCAA Name Image Likeness James Wiseman

The NCAA has done it again! The billion-dollar non-profit organization demonstrated twice last week that it’s primary objective is protecting the sham of amateurism. First, the NCAA proved that it will be dedicated to protecting their self proclaimed noble objective even when it makes no sense and hurts it’s beloved “student-athletes”. The NCAA’s ruling in the James Wiseman case does exactly that. It makes no sense and is harmful to James Wiseman. Secondly, the NCAA demonstrated that they have no intention of allowing college athletes to “benefit” from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) anytime soon when they released their NIL compensation timeline. In their announcement, the NCAA reaffirmed that any college athlete NIL compensation will be consistent with the current “collegiate model.”

The James Wiseman Ruling

Chase Young James Wiseman

The NCAA ruled that potential number one NBA draft pick, James Wiseman, will serve a 12 game suspension and donate $11,500 to charity for a transaction that transpired between Wiseman’s mother and Penny Hardaway. When Wiseman was in high school Penny Hardaway gave his mother $11,500 for moving expenses. At the time, Wiseman was unaware of the transaction between Hardaway and his mother. Hardaway was not Wiseman’s coach although he later became Wiseman’s high school and college coach. Even though Wiseman did not have anything to do with the moving expenses Hardaway gave to his mother, the NCAA decided that he should be punished anyway. How does this make sense?

The answer is that it does not make common sense, it only makes NCAA sense. Per the NCAA’s rules, it is reasonable for Wiseman to serve a 12 game suspension for something he did not do. It is reasonable to require a “student-athlete” to pay what amounts to an $11,500 fine to a charity for an “impermissible benefit”. This is reasonable from an NCAA perspective because no college athlete is allowed to receive any benefit that is not NCAA approved. From a common-sense perspective, this punishment is completely irrational. A rational person would wonder why is Wiseman being punished? He did not do anything wrong. A rational person would also ask where is a “student-athlete” supposed to get that kind of money?

How Can James Wiseman get the Money Without Violating the NCAA’s Rules?

Wiseman’s sport does not allow him enough time to work to earn that kind of money. Perhaps, his family or a close friend could loan it to him. No, that will not work because that is not permissible, just ask Chase Young. Perhaps, random people could donate the money to Wiseman through GoFundMe like ESPN analyst Jay Williams called for people to do.

This seems like a plausible way for Wiseman to get the money. People who feel that Wiseman has been wronged could offer a helping hand. There is only one problem with this approach. Wiseman would not be able to accept the money because accepting the money would likely result in another NCAA violation. Really, what is Wiseman to do to pay this excessive fine that the NCAA has placed on him all in the name “amateurism”?

The NCAA’s NIL Compensation Timeline is a Stalling Tactic​

In addition to the James Wiseman decision, the NCAA showed its resistance to change when it released it’s NIL timeline. When the NCAA released its very lengthy NIL compensation timeline it became clear that the NCAA is stalling. Per the timeline, the NCAA will not vote on the issue until January 2021. This should come as no surprise. Afterall the NCAA is only addressing the issue after being forced to.

NCAA Name Image Likeness NIL Pay college athletes

The NCAA was Forced to Address NIL Compensation

The NCAA formed a working group to address issues surrounding college athlete name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation. They were forced to address the issue under pressure from several state legislatures that introduced bills seeking to allow college athlete NIL compensation. The NCAA also faced pressure from Congress as Congressman Mark Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act. In October, California became the first state to allow college athlete NIL compensation when Governor Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. In October, the NCAA released the findings of the NIL working group. However, the NCAA is not going down without a fight.

When the working group’s findings were released, it became clear that the NCAA is still trying to retain as much power as possible. It has also become clear that the NCAA is going to give college athletes as little rights as possible. The NCAA is dedicated to retaining the current “collegiate model”. The findings did not provide much clarity on the NCAA’s stance on the issue. In fact, it only led to more questions. It seemed like a stalling tactic to slow the momentum of the progress of the NIL compensation movement. The timeline proves that it is a stalling tactic. However, their tactics are not working as Florida is considering legislation that could allow college athletes to profit from their NIL as early as July 2020.

Wiseman’s Decision and the NCAA’s NIL Compensation Timeline Demonstrates that the NCAA will not Change

The NCAA’s decision in Wiseman’s case and the NIL compensation timeline proves that the NCAA is not genuine in making meaningful changes in college sports. The NCAA is only willing to take half measures. The NCAA only wants to give the appearance of change. Their primary concern is retaining control of their billion-dollar cash cow. The NCAA remains dedicated to their cause, even when it is so clearly wrong. Their decision in the James Wiseman case is clearly wrong. The NCAA’s primary motive is showing that they are still in control and dedicated to preserving amateurism at all cost. Once again, the NCAA has proven that some sort of legislation is necessary to push the college athletes’ rights movement forward.

Pressure is on for the NCAA Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) Working Group

NCAA Name Image Likeness NIL Pay college athletes

California Governor Gavin Newsom created a firestorm when he signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. Starting in 2023, college athletes in California will be able to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). They will also be able to sign with agents. After the act became law, several states announced plans to enact similar legislation. Among those states, was the state of Flordia. Two lawmakers in Florida proposed bills seeking to give college athletes including NCAA players the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Last week, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, endorsed the proposed legislation. This is a major development regarding college athlete rights. It could mean that if either of the proposed bills makes it to DeSantis’ desk, he will likely sign it into law. Therefore, Florida could become the next state to allow college athletes to profit from their NIL.

However, the NCAA still has a chance to get out ahead of this NIL compensation issue. The NCAA could amend its rules to allow college athletes to profit from their NIL. The NCAA already has a working group set to address the issue soon. What would happen if the NCAA did just that and allowed college athletes to profit from their NIL? Would that make the Fair Pay to Play Act a non-issue? Would the federal government still enact a law addressing the issue? Before these questions can be answered, it is important to understand why so many state and federal lawmakers have come out in support of college athletes’ rights.

The Reason So Many Legislators are Interested in College Athletes’ Rights

The short answer is because it is the right thing to do. College sports are a billion-dollar industry. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the blatant inequities in college sports. The benefits that college athletes receive pales in comparison to the benefits that their labor bestows upon others. For example, It was recently reported that several high profile college coaches have access to private jets for personal use. Access to such amenities are apart of their contracts.

As if it was not enough for some coaches to make severely more money than the governor of the state in which they coach, they have to have access to private jets too.

It is things like this that make it extremely hard to argue that college athletes should not be allowed to have a bigger piece of the college sports pie. Governor DeSantis realized this fact when he was attending a football game. His reason for endorsing the proposed legislation stems from him realizing that members of the marching band can make money promoting music on their YouTube channel. However, the football players who perform in the same field do not have a similar ability to profit from their talents. It is this inherent inequity and unfairness between the rights and abilities of college athletes versus those of other students that have sparked the interest of so many lawmakers.

What Happens if the NCAA Amends its Rules to Allow NIL Compensation?

While state and federal lawmakers are busy drafting college athletes’ rights legislation, the NCAA’s working group plans to address the issue. The working group is expected to announce its findings and recommendations very soon. The pressure is certainly on for the NCAA. Everyone is waiting to see if the NCAA will make recommendations that actually benefit college athletes. If the NCAA does amend its rules to allow college athletes to profit from their NIL, what will that mean for the Fair Pay to Play Act and other proposed legislation?

A World Where the NCAA Allows College Athletes to Profit From Their NIL

If the NCAA amends its rules in a meaningful way to allow NIL compensation, there is a chance that the NCAA could make the need for legislation go away. The Fair Pay to Play Act is not set to go into effect until 2023. Accordingly, the NCAA has time to remedy this situation themselves. However, in order to accomplish that the NCAA has to be willing to make meaningful change and allow college athletes to profit from their NIL and sign with agents with essentially no strings attached. The NCAA should not try to “tether” the endorsements to education or subject them to any other stipulation. The NCAA should do the right thing and allow college athletes to profit from their NIL like the Fair Pay to Play Act other proposed legislation intends to do.

If the NCAA does that there will not be a need for legislation and it will make the Fair Pay to Play Act obsolete. However, the NCAA’s track record paints a pretty bleak picture that they will do that. Furthermore, the stance that members of the working group have taken on the issue does not lead one to believe that meaningful change will be coming from the working group. Based on this, it is likely that some form of legislation will be necessary. However, the true outcome of the NIL compensation working group remains to be seen.

Like Dominos, States are Falling into the College Athlete NIL Movement

compensate College Athletes

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom set a trend when he signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law on LeBron James’ hit show The Shop. The new law will take effect in 2023. The Fair Pay to Play Act will give college athletes in California the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Specifically, college athletes will be allowed to garner endorsement deals and otherwise monetize their NIL without losing eligibility. The law also allows college athletes to sign with agents. The Fair Pay to Play Act is proving to be a trendsetter. Several states have announced plans to join the college athlete NIL movement.

Prior to the Fair Pay to Play Act being signed into law, a few other states had plans to introduce similar legislation to comp. Since the Fair Pay to Play Act became law states in almost every region of the country have announced plans to create similar legislation. The NCAA’s threats to ban California colleges from post-season play has been no match for legislators who are determined to do what is right for college athletes. These legislators are determined to create a more equitable college athletics system.

Currently, college athletes propel a billion-dollar college sports industry and are limited to a cost-of-attendance scholarship for their efforts. Meanwhile, coaches’ salaries continue to grow and the non-profit NCAA generates a billion-dollars per year. Several state and federal lawmakers are determined to give college athletes a bigger piece of the pie. Let’s take a look at the states that have joined the college athlete NIL movement since the passage of the Fair Pay to Play Act.

States With Plans to Introduce College Athlete NIL Legislation

In the midwest, Illinois and Minnesota state lawmakers have announced plans to introduce a college athlete NIL bills. Pennsylvania and Maryland are both considering introducing legislation similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act. Several lawmakers in Nevada have stated that they would consider introducing similar legislation. A lawmaker in Kentucky is reportedly drafting a bill addressing college athlete compensation. Perhaps the most notable state to join the college athlete NIL movement is the state of Florida.

Two Florida lawmakers have already filed bills. On October 4, Chip LaMarca filed HB 287. This bill seeks to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. If signed into law, it will become effective on July 1, 2020. Prior to HB 287, Florida representative Kionee McGhee filed HB 251. That bill is also set to become effective on July 1, 2020. HB 251seeks to allow college athletes to receive “specified compensation.” The bill will also create a Florida College System Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness Task Force. With these two bills, Florida is bound to give college athletes the ability to profit from their NIL.

Download the Podcast Detailing CA and the Other States Legislation

The College Athlete NIL Movement has a Potential Newcomer on the Federal Level

The current collegiate model is not only being challenged on the state level. The collegiate model is being challenged at the federal level as well. Earlier this year, U.S. Congressman Mark Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act. The NCAA is exempt from federal taxation as an organization that organizes amateur sports and national championships. The Student-Athlete Equity Act seeks to remove that exemption if the NCAA continues to enforce rules that prohibit college athletes from profiting from their NIL. In addition to this fight at the federal level, the NCAA is about to face another one.

A U.S. Congressman from Ohio is planning to introduce a federal bill similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act. Representative Anthony Gonzalez, a former Ohio State wide receiver, plans to introduce a federal bill that will allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. Gonzalez would like to see NIL compensation become a reality before 2020. However, he may wait until the NCAA’s NIL working group releases its’ findings before introducing legislation.

Paying College Athletes has Bipartisan Support

As more state and federal lawmakers announce plans to introduce college athlete legislation, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the issue has bipartisan support. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been vocal in support of the legislation. Perhaps this is because they all can see the blatant inequities in the current collegiate sports system. In a capitalist society, no one can reasonably support the notion that college athletes should be prohibited from profiting from their NIL. The bipartisan support will continue to grow. The NCAA will be forced to enact a meaningful change on the issue or sit back and watch lawmakers do it for them.

What California’s Fair Play to Pay Act means for South Carolina, Colorado legislation

California Fair Play to Pay Act Colorado and South Carolina NCAA

Governor Gavin Newsom broke the internet this morning when a video of him signing the Fair Pay to Play Act into law was released. The Fair Pay to Play Act was one of the hottest issues of the summer. It led everyone to debate if college athletes should be paid above a cost-of-attendance scholarship. The debate is no longer, at least for college athletes in California. Governor Newsom sat with LeBron James on his hit show The Shop and signed the bill into law.

King James was an ardent supporter of the bill. The Fair Pay to Play Act will give college athletes in California the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) and the ability to sign with an agent. Governor Newsom ignored the NCAA’s threat to prohibit colleges in California from participating in post-season championships and signed the bill into law. What will this mean for college athletes in California in 2023 when the bill is set to take effect?

The Fair Pay to Play Act

The Fair Pay to Play Act seeks to accomplish two goals for college athletes attending four-year colleges in California. One goal is to allow them to sign with agents. Pursuant to the bill, the agents must be licensed with the state. The agents must also be fully compliant with the federal Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act. The second goal is to give college athletes in California the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness.

Under the Act, colleges will be prohibited from upholding any rule that prevents college athletes from receiving compensation for their NIL. Any compensation that is earned will not affect the athletes’ scholarships. Furthermore, the NCAA will not be able to keep college athletes from participating in collegiate sports simply because they receive NIL compensation. The NCAA also will not be able to ban a school from participation because its athletes receive NIL compensation.

However, college athletes do not have a blanket rule to enter into a contract without any consideration for their team’s pre-existing contracts. If an athlete enters into a contract, the athlete must inform the school. If the athlete’s contract conflicts with the team’s contract, the athlete will not be able to enter into that contract. However, the team contract will not prevent an athlete from receiving NIL compensation when the athlete is not engaged in official team business. The Act does not apply to prospective college athletes. The Fair Pay to Play Act will only apply to four-year colleges. However, the California legislature intends to create a community college NIL working group to study the California Community College Athletic Association’s rules.

Podcast Discussion About the Name, Image, and Likeness Bills

How will the Fair Pay to Play Act Effect Colleges in other States?

During his appearance on The Shop, Governor Newsom stated that “the [Fair Pay to Play Act] will initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation.” Governor Newsom could not be more right. Before he signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law other states had already followed suit. For example, New York state senator Kevin Parker introduced the New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act. The New York bill is very similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act, but goes a bit further.

New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act

The New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act also seeks to give college athletes the right to profit from their NIL without losing their scholarship or collegiate eligibility. The bill prohibits New York colleges from upholding any rule that prevents college athletes from receiving NIL compensation. The bill also prohibits the NCAA from banning an athlete from collegiate participation due to NIL compensation. Likewise, the bill prohibits the NCAA from banning colleges whose athletes receive NIL compensation.

Like the Fair Pay to Play Act, college athletes in New York would not have the blanket ability to enter a contract without consideration of their team’s pre-existing contracts. The athletes will be required to inform their school of any contract they enter into. They would not be allowed to enter a contract that conflicts with the team’s contracts. However, a team contract will not prevent an athlete from receiving NIL compensation when the athlete is not engaged in official team business.

The New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act also gives college athletes the ability to sign with agents. The agents must be properly registered and compliant with federal laws. The bill also exempts community colleges and calls for a working group to be created to address the NIL issue for community colleges. The bill also does not apply to prospective college athletes. The New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act is very similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act. However, the New York bill takes college athlete compensation a couple of steps further.

The New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act Seeks to go the Extra Mile

The New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act seeks to go the extra mile by requiring that each college establish a fund for injured athletes. With this provision, athletes who suffer a career-ending injury in a practice or game will qualify for the fund. The athletes would receive the money upon graduation. The amount of compensation would be determined by each school. Perhaps most notably, the bill goes further by requiring that each college share 15 percent of its revenue from ticket sales with the athletes. These are major differences because it requires the schools to make direct payments to the athletes. Hopefully, California has broken the ice so that these additions to college athlete compensation can become law.

Colorado and South Carolina Also Have Plans to Follow Suit

Lawmakers in South Carolina and Colorado have already announced their intentions to follow suit. They both plan to submit legislation similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act in their upcoming legislative sessions. South Carolina State senator Marlon Kimpson and representative Justin Bamberg plan to introduce the bill. The bill will require the biggest colleges in South Carolina to pay $5,000 a year stipends to athletes in profitable sports like football and basketball. The bill will also seek to allow college athletes to receive compensation from sponsorships and autograph signings.

The Colorado legislation was introduced last session by state senators Owen Hill and Jeff Bridges. However, it was too late in the session when it was introduced. The senators plan to re-introduce the bill in the next legislative session. The Colorado bill will also require direct payment to college athletes from schools. Former college athlete Jeremy Bloom is a supporter of the Colorado legislation.

Whether the NCAA likes it or not, NIL Payments are Coming

Governor Newsom did not back down to the NCAA. From the looks of things, other states are not going to either. Whether the NCAA likes it or not, NIL compensation is coming. As Maverick Carter pointed out on The Shop, America is a capitalistic society. College athletes should have the same rights to participate in this capitalistic society like every other student. The Fair Pay to Play Act and other similar legislation seek to give college athletes that right. In light of Governor Newsom’s decision, it will be interesting to see what the NCAA’s NIL working group proposes. The working group is expected to share its findings and decision soon.

The NCAA’s New Agent Rule is About Maintaining​ Control

NCAA Rich Paul Agent Rule

The NCAA sent the sports world into a frenzy when they announced their new certification process for sports agents who wish to represent college basketball players. The new rule comes as a part of the recommendations made by the Commission on College Basketball (Commission) last April. After the 2017 college hoops scandal led to an FBI investigation and criminal trial, the NCAA created the Commission to help resolve the problems in college basketball. One of the Commission’s recommendations was that the NCAA allow some college basketball players to enlist the guidance of agents. Accordingly, the NCAA released the process for an agent to become NCAA-certified.

To become an NCAA-certified agent, one must have a bachelors degree, be NBPA certified for at least three consecutive years and in good standing, maintain liability insurance, and submit an application by the appropriate deadline. The requirement that agents have a bachelors degree did not sit well with many in the sports industry. The bachelor degree requirement received instant criticism. LeBron James was at the forefront of the criticism as he viewed the rule as a snub at the success of his friend and agent, Rich Paul. He even dubbed the rule the “Rich Paul Rule.”

Why Would LeBron James Think That the Rule is a Snub at Rich Paul?

Rich Paul is a close friend of LeBron James who later became his agent. Paul does not have a bachelors degree but has been ultra-successful as a basketball agent. He learned the agent business through practical real-world experience. Paul then became an NBPA certified agent and created Klutch Sports. In addition to LeBron James, Paul represents Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, and a host of other top NBA talent. Given Paul’s client roster it is clear that he has totally disrupted the basketball agent industry. He has become an NBA agent powerhouse. Not only has Paul and Klutch Sports disrupted NBA basketball, but he also ruffled some feathers in college basketball.

Darius Bazley was a top high school basketball prospect who was committed to playing at Syracuse. Bazley ultimately changed his mind and opted not to attend Syracuse and to forego his college eligibility. Instead, Bazely worked out on his own to prepare for the NBA draft. With the help of Rich Paul, Bazley landed an internship with New Balance. Paul helped Bazley garner an internship deal where Bazely received a shoe deal and a guaranteed $1 million.

Once Bazley decided not to attend college many wondered if he would be drafted into the NBA. In June that question was answered when Bazely was drafted in the first round at number 23 by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul and Bazley raised a lot of eyebrows with their unconventional newly charted path to the NBA. Given the disruption that Rich Paul has caused in both professional and college basketball, it is very clear why King James thinks the NCAA’s new agent rule is targeting Rich Paul.

Is it Simply Targeting Rich Paul or is the NCAA Seeking to Prevent a Broader Phenomenon?

Changes in College Athletics

Sports fans will never know for sure if the NCAA created the agent certification guidelines with Rich Paul in mind. However, what is known is that change is afoot in college athletics and in professional basketball. One thing that is for sure is that the NCAA and others at the top of the sports industry are threatened by innovators and disruptors like Rich Paul. They have much to gain by ensuring there is a system in place to make it more difficult for future Rich Pauls.

In college athletics, the NCAA’s model is being attacked on all fronts. The NCAA is defending the farce of amateurism in court. Recently, the NCAA was forced to create a working group to address the various federal and state-level bills. The bills seek to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. With the many challenges to the current college sports landscape, the NCAA is willing to do whatever it takes to retain control. Requiring a bachelors degree is one way that the NCAA seeks to accomplish that goal.

Having a College Degree Does not Automatically Equal Quality Representation

Yes, it is true that requiring agents to have a bachelor’s degree is a move to safeguard the players. However, simply having a degree does not automatically make a person qualified to negotiate a sports contract. Nor does it automatically mean that the person will not take advantage of the athlete. Furthermore, classroom education does not beat out real-world experience. Hence, the reason entry-level and recent graduate job postings still ask for one to two years of experience. One thing the bachelor’s degree requirement does is make sure others like Rich Paul have another hurdle to cross.

Lack of a college degree does not automatically equal sub-par representation. The clearest example of that is Rich Paul. Furthermore, the degree requirement could automatically preclude those closest to the athletes and with the athletes’ best interest at heart from representing them. Is that in the athletes’ best interest in all cases? The NCAA should have an option where a certain amount of experience takes the place of the degree requirement just as the NBPA does.

Certainly Benefits Those Already at the Top of the Agent Industry

Paul’s willingness to help athletes go after their goals in their own way has made him attractive to other players. This phenomenon has lead to some disruptions in professional basketball player representation. The most telling example of this is Anthony Davis and his attempt to force his way to the Lakers this past season. Other agents are threatened by Rich Paul. Creating a rule that requires a bachelors degree is a way to make sure disruptors like Rich Paul have a harder time getting started in the business.

The bachelor’s degree requirement puts Rich Paul and similarly situated agents behind because it precludes them from building relationships with college basketball players. While requiring a bachelors degree can help safeguard college basketball players, it is not foolproof. For that reason, it is likely that the rule may have been more about the NCAA and other top sports industry leaders retaining their power than protecting the athletes.

Why Is Paying College Athletes Viewed so Negatively by Some Fans?

Paying College Athletes Duke Zion Williamson NCAA

Many college sports fans support amateurism. They support it even when it defies all manners of common sense and logic. This was seen in various fans’ reactions to the injury that freshmen phenom Zion Williamson suffered in the UNC/Duke game on February 20, 2019. Leading up to and during that game, fans witnessed the sham […]

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What Happens if California Calls the NCAA’s Bluff of Post Season Bans?

California NCAA post season ban is the bill becomes law

The NCAA has once again shown its true objective. That objective is ensuring that college athletes do not receive any financial benefit that is not NCAA approved. On June 24th, it was reported that NCAA president Mark Emmert sent a letter to the California State Assembly. The letter informed the California State Legislature that the NCAA may ban California colleges from participating in NCAA championships if The Fair Pay to Play Act is passed. The Act aims to allow college athletes to profit from the commercial use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

That is right, the NCAA seeks to punish California schools if the state passes a law that would benefit college athletes. The bill was proposed by California state senators Nancy Skinner and Steven Bradford in February. Last month, the California State Senate passed the bill. It is very likely that the bill will continue to pass through the California Sate Legislature and become law. This high probability led the NCAA to send that letter in an attempt to impede the bill’s progress.

What Happens if the Bill Becomes Law in California?

If the bill is signed into law, it will not go into effect until 2023. At that time, college athletes in California would be allowed to garner endorsement deals and sign with agents. The schools would not be paying the athletes. The athletes would get paid from outside sources. Therefore, the bill does not pose any Title IX implications. It also will have no effect on non-revenue producing sports. However, the NCAA wants the bill’s progress postponed until their working group has had a chance to address the matter.

The NCAA Creates Working Group to Address Issues Related to College Athletes’ NIL

On May 14th, the NCAA announced that it created a working group to address issues regarding college athletes’ ability to profit from the commercial use of their NIL. The NCAA created this working group in response to several bills, similar to the one in California, being introduced at both the state and federal levels. A bill was introduced in Washington state that aims to allow college athletes in Washington to profit from the commercial use of their NIL. At the federal level, Congressman Mark Walker of North Carolina introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act. The Act purports to amend the tax code so that amateur sports organizations such as the NCAA can no longer strip athletes of their right to profit from their name, image, and likeness. 

In an effort to get ahead of the issues raised in these bills, the NCAA created the working group. Many were skeptical of the actual goals of the working group. Many questioned whether the NCAA would actually amend the rules in a favorable manner for college athletes. The letter the NCAA sent to the California State Legislature has painted a bleak picture for any hope that the NCAA will make rule changes that benefit college athletes in a meaningful way. After all, the NCAA recently announced that it may tighten up on college athletes’ ability to transfer.

Last summer, the NCAA passed a new transfer rule that served as a major benefit to many college athletes by allowing them to be immediately eligible upon transfer. After complaints about college athletes newfound freedom, the NCAA announced that it may be issuing tighter guidelines for schools to consider in determining an athlete’s immediate eligibility. The NCAA’s announcement regarding the transfer rule does not leave much hope for the efforts of the working group. However, what the working group will actually do remains to be seen. In the meantime, California should call the NCAA’s bluff and move forward with the progression of the bill. After all, how likely is it that the NCAA will carry out its threat?

Will the NCAA Make Good on its Threat?

California is home to some of college sports premier programs. Stanford, University of California Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California all have renowned sports programs. These schools are also members of the Power 5 Conference, the Pac 12. The Pac-12 Conference would be directly affected if the NCAA makes good on its threat. However, the Pac-12 seems to support the efforts of the NCAA’s working group. The Unafraid Show reached out the Pac-12 Conference for comments regarding The Fair Pay to Play Act and Mark Emmert’s letter.

The Pac-12 responded with a letter that the conference’s commissioner Larry Scott sent to the chairman of the California State Legislature Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media Committee on June 14, 2019. The Pac-12’s letter was sent to the California State Legislature prior to the report of NCAA president Mark Emmert’s letter. In the Pac-12’s letter, Mr. Scott requested that the committee hold the bill until the NCAA’s working group finalizes its work this fall. The letter stated Pac-12 athletic director Rick George of the University of Colorado, Boulder joined the committee. Mr. Scott also stressed the Pac-12’s commitment to protecting and supporting the welfare of student-athletes. The Pac-12 Conference did not comment on Mark Emmert’s letter.

It is Time for Change in College Athletics

Although the Pac-12 would prefer the California State Legislature postpone the bill, the California State Legislature should do just the opposite. The California State Legislature should call the NCAA’s bluff. California is home to some of college sports premier programs. Does it really make sense that the NCAA would prohibit all of California’s colleges from competing in championships? The NCAA has too much to lose. The organization has its broadcasting deal with CBS Sports and Turner a division of Time Warner to consider. Would the NCAA really risk losing money on that deal by not making the California colleges’ games available? The answer is no. The NCAA did not become a billion dollar non-profit organization by missing opportunities to maximize their profit margin. After all, if the NCAA did not punish UNC for creating sham courses why would the NCAA punish California for passing a law that benefits college athletes? Therefore, California should call the NCAA’s bluff and continue to fight for what is right.

California should set an example by passing The Fair Pay to Play Act. It is very likely that other states would follow suit for competitive reasons if nothing else.

The NCAA has shown time and again that their aim is to prohibit the financial benefits of college athletes as much as possible in the name of amateurism. Amateurism is a sham. That has been proven by the exorbitant coaching contracts that are signed year after year. The NCAA will only authorize changes in college athletics when forced to. They only created the working group after several state and federal bills were introduced and gaining traction. California should call the NCAA’s bluff and continue to push the bill through. At the very least, California could force the working group to amend the rules so that college athletes can finally profit from the commercial use of their own face and name.

Follow Kassandra Ramsey @Court_2_Court

Darius Bazley and Rich Paul Just Changed the Path to the NBA Draft From HS

Rich Paul Darius Bazley Klutch Sports

On June 20, 2019, NBA fans tuned in to witness the next wave of NBA stars be drafted into the NBA. Most notable was Zion Williamson who was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans as the number one overall pick. Williamson was the most anticipated NBA draft pick since LeBron James in 2003. NBA fans are excited to see what Williamson will bring to the game. Also, that night another player who has already proved to be a game changer was drafted. That player is Darius Bazley. Darius Bazely was drafted in the first round at number 23 by the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) thanks to a plan orchestrated by Rich Paul.

Darius Bazley Emerged as a Game Changer well Before the NBA Draft

Bazely earned his status as a game changer way before the 2019 NBA Draft took place. He was a highly sought after high school recruit. ESPN ranked Bazley as the 13th best high school player in the class of 2018. Bazely was slated to play for Syracuse University. To the surprise of many, at the end of his senior year in high school, Bazley announced that he was going to forego college to the NBA G-League. Soon after, Bazley hired Rich Paul of Klutch Sports (LeBron’s childhood friend and agent) to be his agent. Bazley again changed his mind and decided not to enter the G-League. He instead opted to spend a year training for the NBA Draft on his own.

In addition to training for the NBA Draft, Bazley landed an internship with New Balance. With the help of Rich Paul, Bazley brokered a fairly lucrative internship deal. The internship included a shoe deal where Bazley would receive $1 million dollars regardless of how his NBA career turns outs. He can receive another $14 million from the internship if he reaches all of the performance incentives. 

Darius did not Need the NCAA to get to the NBA

Bazley took the road less traveled. He charted his own path to the NBA and made money and gained valuable real world work experience while he did it. He is not the first player to opt of out of college. There have been several players who decided to play professionally overseas before entering the NBA Draft. However, Bazley did it entirely different. He did not play organized basketball anywhere for an entire year. He only worked out on his own and took a sort of vocational education path with the New Balance internship. Many questioned if Bazely would be drafted at all or if he would be drafted at a lower seed.

Bazley was drafted with the 23rd pick in the first round. One could argue that Bazley hurt himself in the NBA Draft by not playing in college. Had he had a great year in college, he may have been drafted in the top ten of the first round. However, if he did that he would not have gained the real-world experience he did as an intern. He certainly would not have been allowed to make $1 million while doing it. What if Bazley had suffered an injury in college? An injury would have negatively affected his draft potential. Arguments can be made for and against Bazely’s unique path to the NBA. One thing is for sure, Bazley and Rich Paul have changed the game.

They have given future players and agents another path to the NBA to consider. Work out on your own while getting real world work experience. That work experience could even turn be leverged into endorsement deal once in the NBA.

Is Bazley Ready for the NBA Since he did not Participate in Organized Basketball for a Year?

Many questioned whether Bazley is ready for the NBA since he has not played organized basketball in a year. Some argue that Bazley was not a good pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, that remains to be seen. It is likely that Bazely will have some adjustments to make during his transition into the NBA. However, that is true for all players not matter where they were previously. If a player goes to the NBA from college, from a professional league overseas, or from private training the player is still going to have to adjust to the NBA. It is very likely that Darius Bazley will turn out to be a good pick for OKC. After all, he managed to be picked in the first round even though he did not play organized basketball for an entire year. He was drafted in front of a lot of players who did.

Darius Bazley and Rich Paul Have Charted a New Path, but will Others Follow Suit?

It is no doubt that Bazley and Paul have charted a new path. The question is will future highly sought after high school recruits take a similar path? It is possible that other players will follow Bazley’s path, especially if Bazley’s NBA career takes off. Future athletes are also likely to take this path if the NCAA continues to make and enforce rules that prohibit college athletes from reaping the financial rewards that coaches and other sports administration officials enjoy. Bazley’s path to the NBA is definitely a game changer for future generations to pay close attention to. 

Follow Kassandra Ramsey on Twitter @Court_2_Court

When Should Criminal Charges be Filed for Incidents at NBA Games?

Masai Ujiri NBA fans and players criminal charges

Last week in Oracle Arena, the Toronto Raptors clinched their first NBA championship. The Raptors had a lot to celebrate as they not only made franchise history, they made NBA history. The Raptors made franchise history by bringing the franchise its’ first championship. Amongst the people who made their way to the floor was the Raptor’s president of basketball operations and general manager, Masai Ujiri. Ujiri made his way to the floor he allegedly had an altercation with an Alameda County Sheriff deputy. A video of the actual altercation has yet to surface, however, there is a video of the aftermath.

During the altercation, the deputy allegedly stopped Ujiri from entering the court because he did not have proper credentials. Ujiri allegedly shoved the deputy. Witnesses say that Ujiri did not shove the officer. However, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department plans to charge Ujiri with misdemeanor battery. Ujiri may face criminal charges for this altercation. NBA fans are questioning whether the Alameda County Sheriff’s department is going a little too far or if Ujiri actually deserves to be charged? However, this situation presents a broader question. That question is whether players or fans should be charged with crimes for incidents that occur inside sports arenas?

Should Players or Fans Face Criminal Charges for Incidents that Happen at Games?

The short answer to this question is it depends. The issue of potential criminal charges certainly depends on the severity of the act. This season, the NBA has experienced several instances where it was forced to address player and fan interactions. All of the incidents brought up what is considered a sore spot for the NBA. That “sore spot” is the night of what became known as “Malice at the Palace.”

In 2004, during a game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, a brawl between the fans and players took place. It all started when a fan threw a drink that hit the Indiana Pacers star, Ron Artest.

Chaos immediately ensued and several NBA players got into a major fight with several fans. The NBA issued some of the harshest penalties in NBA history. Several of the players and fans faced criminal charges for misdemeanor assault and battery. In this case, criminal charges were appropriate especially on the part of the fan who threw the cup at Ron Artest. After all, that was the catalyst that started the whole brawl. The incident was a clear fight between the players and fans. Whether a fight takes place inside of the arena or outside of the arena, such acts cannot be tolerated. Valid self-defense arguments could be and was made in this case. However, the prosecutor did not overstep in this case, as there was clear video showing a major brawl with multiple parties at fault.

Player Interactions With NBA Fans This Season

The NBA was forced to address the issue of player and fan interactions several times this season. Two incidents involved Oklahoma City Thunder star, Russel Westbrook. Another took place during the NBA Finals in Oracle Arena. The most recent took place immediately after the last game of the NBA Finals involving Masai Ujiri.

Russell Westbrook’s Incident With a Young fan in Denver

During a game in Denver, Westbrook was touched by a young boy on the sideline. He politely told the father that it was not appropriate for his kid to touch the players. Ultimately, this was a no harm no foul situation. However, it did lead to discussions about players, fans, and safety and how those issues should be addressed. Clearly, in this situation, there was no need for any type of criminal charges to even be discussed. However, later in the season, Westbrook experienced an encounter with a fan in Utah where such a discussion may have been warranted.

Russell Westbrook’s Interaction With Hostile Fan in Utah

During a game in Utah, Westbrook is seen yelling expletive comments to a fan. After the game, Westbrook stated that the fan made disrespectful and racial comments towards him. The fan told Westbrook to get down on his knees like he was used to. Clearly, in this situation the fan was wrong. The fan’s conduct was extremely inappropriate. This again led to discussions of how players are treated by fans. The Utah Jazz organization immediately addressed the situation and banned the fan from the arena for life. The punishment definitely was the appropriate action for this situation. No one was physically hurt, so any criminal charges would have seemed a bit over the top, especially with the Jazz making sure the fan could no longer attend games at the arena.

Kyle Lowry Shoved by Golden State’s Minority Owner

During game three of the 2019 NBA Finals, Toronto Raptors star, Kyle Lowry, was shoved by Golden State Warriors minority owner, Mark Stevens, when he divided for a loose ball. Here, Stevens shoved Lowry for no reason. He had no reason to touch him. This case again reignited the discussion about player and fan interactions. It had overtones of how the “Malice at the Palace” brawl began. Fan assaults player and the incident gets out of hand from there. Current NBA players took up for Lowry and called for Stevens to be punished. Most notably LeBron James spoke out and made the point that if it was the other way around people would be up in arms calling for Lowry to be suspended and maybe even put in jail.


This is a case where misdemeanor battery charges could have been made because Stevens intentionally shoved Lowry for no reason. No such charges were made in the case. However, Stevens has been fined $500,000 and banned from all team events next season. This punishment is certainly appropriate given Stevens’ actions.

The Masai Ujiri Case

Given the limited details of what actually transpired between the deputy and Masai Ujiri, it would seem that criminal charges may be going a little too far. This is a determination that will be made after the investigation is done. If an assault occurred then criminal charges may be appropriate. If an assault did not occur then criminal charges are not appropriate. From the facts that have come out so far, the altercation appears to be a huge misunderstanding. A misunderstanding like this can be resolved without criminal charges against Masai Ujiri.

Whether Players or Fans Should Face Criminal Charges at Games Must be Determined on a Case-by-Case Basis

The NBA and its teams have a duty to ensure the safety of both fans and players during games. This is especially true if the NBA does not want another “Malice in the Palace” situation. Whether and if criminal charges at games should be filed is a fact-specific determination. In most cases, it appears appropriate punishment can be given out without ruining people’s careers by invoking criminal charges.

RJ Hampton Going Pro Basketball May Change College Basketball

RJ hampton turning pro instead of playing college basketball

On Tuesday, the number 5 ranked college basketball recruit in the ESPN Top 100 RJ Hampton, shocked the college sports world when he announced that he would forego college to play professionally in Australia. He made the announcement on ESPN’s Get Up. Hampton will play professionally with the National Basketball League’s (NBL) New Zealand Breakers.

Immediately after Hampton’s announcement, the sports world was abuzz about what this will mean for the NCAA and college basketball. The NCAA, the schools, the conferences, and coaches are facing criticism for the current college sports model where they make billions of dollars while the players are limited to a cost-of-attendance scholarship.

The Current College Sports Model

The current college sports model can be summed up in one word – UNFAIR. The NCAA governs college sports. The NCAA makes rules that it’s member schools follow. The bedrock of those rules is the principle of amateurism. College sports are regarded as amateur sports that the players only engage in for their love the game. Thus, college athletes do not receive any payment but may receive a scholarship. Meanwhile, the NCAA, the schools, the conferences, the coaches, and sports administrators make billions of dollars off of college athlete labor. Does this really seem fair?

No, it is not fair. More and more people are acknowledging the unfairness of the current college sports model particularly in regards to D1 men’s basketball and football. The issue has been litigated in court in several cases. Recently state and federal lawmakers have proposed legislation challenging the college sports model. The bills propose allowing college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. Due to the progress of these proposed bills, the NCAA has created a working group to address the issue. Now, whether Hampton realizes it or not, his decision poses another challenge to the current college sports model. Hampton’s decision could have a detrimental effect on college basketball especially if future top recruits follow in his footsteps.

Will RJ Hampton’s Decision Detrimentally Effect College Basketball

Hampton is the only one of the five top recruits to decide not to play college basketball. From a college basketball fan entertainment perspective his absence is not likely to have a profound effect this upcoming season. College basketball will still be the same product that it has been and fans will surely tune in. However, Hampton’s decision could have an effect on college basketball down the road. This is especially true when considered with the mounting challenges that college sports is rightfully facing.

As the NCAA addresses the proposed legislation and continues to fight in court, the college sports model is also being challenged directly. Specifically, the NBA’s G-Leauge new program presents a competitive problem for college basketball. Last fall, the G-League announced that it would allow elite athletes who are 18 years old to enter the G-League and receive a select contract valued at $125,000.

Furthermore, the NCAA may soon be threatened by a start-up basketball league that seeks to pay its players and give them scholarships. That league is the Historical Basketball League (HBL). Projected to start in 2020, the HBL plans to give it’s players an option where they are not forced to choose between pay and education. These new options and the example set by Hampton may encourage future top recruits to take a non-traditional route to the NBA. If this happens, college basketball may be in for a real change.

Change is Inevitable to the Current College Sports Model

RJ Hampton is not the first player to opt out of college for a professional overseas league. However, his decision is still a big deal. Hampton is a top 5 recruit who chose to “buck the system” and pursue his NBA dream another way. Hampton echoes the sentiment that so many others are thinking. That sentiment is that athletes can always go back to college. However, athletes only have a finite amount of time to make money off their athleticism. Why should athletes be forced to spend that time playing in college for drastically under their fair market value? The answer is they should not.

Hampton’s decision and reasoning has the potential to have a domino effect. Others are likely to follow suit, especially if Hampton makes it to the NBA. Hampton will get paid to play professionally and prepare for the NBA. It is a really attractive option for similarly situated prospects. Given this realization, the NCAA will eventually have to make a change. Hampton’s decision may be even more incentive for the NCAA’s working group to do the right thing and allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. One thing is for sure, the current college sports model is going to have to change if it wants to retain elite talent.

Follow Kassandra Ramsey on Twitter @Court_2_Court