Dale Jackson: If the Alabama legislature doesn’t follow California on student-athlete compensation, the state will lose
Alabama may soon find itself in an unusual position in regards to college football — playing from behind.
A new California law, the Fair Pay to Play Act, will allow college athletes in the state to profit off of endorsements and their likeness.
This comes in direct defiance to the NCAA and for that reason, there was some question as to whether Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom would veto the bill, but that was settled on Monday when he signed it into law.
And even though the law won’t take effect until January 1, 2023, a number of states have considered passing similar bills to allow athletes to make money while still competing in college.
Unfortunately for Alabama players, don’t expect a bill of this kind to be passed here anytime soon.
House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) issued a statement making it clear that as of now the legislature isn’t even considering anything like this.
He said, “There has been no discussion about similar legislation among the leadership, nor am I aware of any member working to propose it. Certainly, the fact that such legislation violates the most basic NCAA rules and eligibility requirements should be of deep concern, especially in a state like ours, where Alabama and Auburn routinely compete for national championships.”
During the 2016-2017 season, the NCAA made over $1 billion in athletic revenue.
The University of Alabama brought in over $177 million dollars in athletic revenue for 2017-2018 while Auburn brought in over $147 million while the discussion for the NCAA in recent years has largely been about whether student-athletes deserve a cut.
This law doesn’t touch that discussion. It would allow athletes to sell themselves to car dealers, bars, bookstores, radio stations or strip clubs.
Will the top student-athletes abandon championship contender programs to make money immediately?
Will top prospects from the West Coast like Najee Harris, Tua Tagovailoa, Anders Carlson decide that chasing a title at Alabama or Auburn isn’t worth giving up the chance to stay close to home and make a ton of money now?
We’ll have to wait and see if the Alabama legislature decides to keep up or risk falling behind.
But here is the real question: What should Alabama do?
Simple. The Alabama legislature should follow California’s lead.
The legislature should pass a law that allows students to earn money off their likeness. They should make it go into effect if the NCAA loses its battle with the state of California or allows students to make money off their likenesses.
When asked about this idea, Ledbetter told WVNN radio’s “The Dale Jackson Show” that he wouldn’t support it at this time, but he said we have to see what happens with the NCAA, California and the Southeastern Conference.
Ledbetter also noted that if Alabama head football coach Nick Saban wanted this to pass that would change the conversation.
Not doing so will severely hamper Alabama’s football programs, which generate untold revenue across the state of Alabama.