The news of a shift in NCAA rules found its way to Oklahoma State football players as they were preparing for practice Tuesday afternoon at the Sherman E. Smith Training Center.
Many of the players who were made available to the media after the practice may not be in college by the time NCAA implements a new policy that would allow student-athletes to profit from the use of their name, image and likeness. But that didn’t keep those veteran athletes from responding in a positive light on the potential of the rule change.
“I’ll be gone by 2021, but it’s cool,” said redshirt senior center Johnny Wilson, who is a business major. “I’ve been treated great here – haven’t had any complaints – but that’s cool.
“I know there’s some guys who are really excited about it, and some guys that it will really help. It’s good that they’re doing that.”
The players aren’t the only members of the Oklahoma State program who are OK with athletes receiving compensation for the use of their name or likeness.
When California passed its law allowing student-athletes at colleges in the state to be paid for the use of their name and likeness, Cowboy coach Mike Gundy approved of the prospect.
“I say pay them. If they’ve earned it, pay them,” Gundy said earlier this season. “Is there any coaches on there in the last four or five years on the video game that’s got a mullet? I say pay that guy.
“If somebody’s making a bunch of money (using the likeness of players), and they want to reward the athlete some, I don’t see a problem with that. The issue you have is, what if one state does it and a different state doesn’t, then what does the NCAA do?”
Now we know that the NCAA is trying to curb that concern of having multiple partners legislating college athletes.
While athletes are happy about the prospect of profiting from the use of their likeness, one of the biggest draws for college football players – and many Americans – is the prospect of EA Sports returning the popular NCAA Football video game. Due to legal issues surrounding the game’s use of college player likenesses, the series was ended in 2013.
“I played the NCAA game in high school and that’s probably the first time I ever saw Oklahoma State football – ever,” Wilson said. “I would play it (if they brought it back). I’ll try to play as myself, go back to the 2019 roster or something. That’d be fun.”
One of the popular aspects of the game is the rating of the players’ attributes, with one of the most popular being a player’s speed. It’s something redshirt sophomore receiver Braydon Johnson, who could potentially still be in Stillwater by the time the rule is implemented, already has some input if he were to be in the video game.
“I definitely hope the game comes back, solely for that reason – to be able to play as myself,” said Johnson, who is considered by many to be the fastest player on the team. “… My speed rating would be 99.”