College sports is on the edge of a revolution, and the NCAA is sweating.
Last month, the California State Senate overwhelmingly passed through a bill to compensate student athletes for their name, image and likeness starting the 2023 school year. With the passing, the bill has to go through only a few more committees before it can become a law.
With the news of the progression of the bill, NCAA President Mark Emmert sent a letter to heads of the committees in the state, threatening to ban California universities from playing in NCAA championships if it goes into law. The threat affects 23 universities at the Division I level, with many more at lower levels.
Emmert said California should wait on the NCAA to fully review its policies on player compensation, and then a decision can be made for all schools around the nation.
Although that sounds reasonable on paper, there is no timetable on the NCAA’s review. This has been a debate in the college community for about a decade, and hardly anything has been done on the NCAA’s front.
With California taking matters into its own hands, it is forcing the NCAA to take swifter action, which I think is a good thing for all parties.
This development doesn’t just affect California schools. In the bigger picture, it affects all universities with athletic programs in the NCAA nationwide, including Oklahoma State University.
The university in Stillwater could have its athletes affected inside and outside the playing field.
If California passes the bill into law, and the NCAA follows through with its threat to ban them, then the college football landscape could look like it is in an alternate universe.
Without teams such as the University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles, the Pac-12 would essentially be dissolved. The Power Five conferences would be down to four, creating more opportunities in the College Football Playoff for teams like OSU. This would also apply to other sports, too.
On the contrary, if California tries to pass the bill and the NCAA steps up and immediately addresses the compensation problem, then future OSU athletes could be in line for some money.
Whatever the result of this power struggle is, it is guaranteed to affect OSU and every other NCAA athletic program in the nation.
To be a bit selfish, I’m in support of paying players for their likeness strictly to get NCAA video games back. I’m hoping with California’s nudging, the NCAA speeds up its review process, and I won’t have to keep playing my Texas State dynasty mode on NCAA 14 forever.
A compensation program for student athletes wouldn’t just be video games. It would include merchandise, endorsements and many more things, too.
It is inevitable, and California’s government is making the baby steps towards doing something about it. The NCAA won’t go down without a fight, though. It will fight for any way it can save money.
As time rolls on and the policies get sorted out, the NCAA’s sweating will only get worse.
Sam Henderson is a contributor for the Stillwater News Press and is going into his junior year at Oklahoma State University.