Almost three years ago when Governor Gavin Newsom joined LeBron James and his ensemble to sign the historic “Fair Pay Act“Into Law on The James HBO Show”Score“Newsom was more than happy to tell the truth about college sports. In fact, he seemed downright dizzy.
“Everything is ready,” Newsom said on September 1. 30, 2019. “Billions and billions of dollars, 14+ billion dollars go to these universities, more than a billion in revenue goes to the NCAA itself, and the people who are risking their lives risking everything for nothing.”
Newsom rightly predicted that Senate Bill 206, which allowed California college athletes to profit from the use of their name, image and likeness (zero) for the first time was going to cause a flood of similar laws across the country, forcing the NCAA and forever changing the “balance of power” between the player and the school.
Maverick Carter, a longtime friend of James, asked the governor who was most opposed to the bill.
“School presidents,” Newsom said without hesitation. “They don’t even outsource phone calls. “What the hell are you doing ruining college sports?” … “You destroy the purity of amateurism.” They never talked about the needs of these little ones.”
Right before signing the bill, Newsom said smugly: “I don’t want to say that this is a checkmate. But it’s a big problem for the NCAA.”
Three weeks ago when University of California at Los Angeles abandoned the Pac-12 conference and UC Berkeley’s UC Berkeley systems counterpart for the big tenthe big business of college sports suddenly became a major problem for Gavin Newsom.
At least that’s how he played on Wednesday when he criticized UCLA. Exit Pac-12, stating that the state university was unacceptably secretive and ignored the harm the move would bring to Berkeley and other league members. In yet another burst of drama, he unusually appeared at a meeting of the UC San Francisco Board of Regents to join the closed discussion on the issue.
“The first duty of every public university is to the people, especially the students,” Newsom said. “UCLA must make clear to the public how this deal will enhance the experience for all of its student athletes, celebrate a century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and preserve the history, rivalries and traditions that enrich our communities.”
Newsom is now taking up the banner of the same university presidents he shrugged off when it suited him in the high-profile NIL issue, the same higher education leaders who watched their athletic departments lose their soul in pursuit of the almighty football dollar and looked the other way. when donations from proud alumni accumulated.
Thanks to the kind of experiment that American collegiate sports represent, much of these sponsors’ pride over the years has been based at least in part on their alma mater’s sporting accomplishments and bragging about their rival.
However, the presidents of every California Pac-12 school actively lobbied the NIL because they feared—correctly—that college athletes receiving money of any kind, even from third parties, and not from the schools themselves, would inevitably lead to full professionalization, players. are classified as employees and participate directly in the income they helped generate.
So, of course, then they called Newsom in a panic. They also knew that the conductor was about to be ready.
Newsom did the right thing by signing the NIL bill. History will applaud him for this. But for him now to act like it’s a shock that UCLA track and field stabbed the UCLA system and its Pac-12 brethren in the back. get potentially over $70 million in annual revenue and pay off over $100 million in debt is insincere and intellectually offensive to taxpayers and voters.
If Newsom wants to have a deeper conversation, he should know that the future of the NIL and where athlete salaries are heading played a significant role in why USC and UCLA knew they would have to leave the Pac-12 to flounder in favor of the Big Ten, which is in the process of negotiating a media rights package that will reportedly cost more than $1 billion with schools added. Los Angeles.
Here in California, the National Labor Relations Board already has a petition requesting that USC and UCLA athletes involved in income-generating sports be classified as wage earners – an idea approved by NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. It can be assumed that USC and UCLA are moving into the Big Ten, which will force athletes make frequent cross-country trips competing by combining studies will only reinforce the argument that they are treated differently from ordinary students for the financial benefit of the university.
This could take months, years, or a decade, but once college football players and men’s basketball players become salaried employees, they will collectively negotiate a share of the revenue, which will hit the budgets of sports departments that depend on windfall revenues from these sports to fund their non-profit teams.
USC and UCLA leaders—the same ones who tried to convince Newsom not to sign the NIL bill—were farsighted enough to realize they had no choice but to stick their hands in the Midwest money bank if they wanted to keep Trojan football fans. . and Bruins basketball fans who expect national championship contention to be happy in the long run.
Cal and the many other schools around the country that won’t get an invitation to the Big Ten or the Southeast Conference will have to make big decisions about whether they want to follow the college sport as a professional sport model when they just don’t have the revenue. or the conference can no longer compete at the highest level.
Much of this is sad, but there is no other way out, because capitalism is doing its job. USC and UCLA got a chance to stay in the game and took advantage of it just like any other Pac-12 school.
Newsom should revise his 2019 theses. He wanted to weaken the NCAA, and he certainly achieved that goal. But he seems to have forgotten that a weakening of the NCAA means a weakening of the UC system.
Newsom in 2019 saw the situation clearly. This is the bed that university presidents have been making for themselves over the past four decades, and now it’s all in disarray. It is not the responsibility of the governor to clean it up.