A bill was introduced in California on Thursday that would require college athletic departments to share its revenue with athletes.
Chris Holden, current chairman of the state legislature’s appropriations committee, announced the bill in front of the Rose Bowl stadium and explained his reasoning.
“Through the years, college athlete concerns have been overlooked because they are not in the professional leagues,” Holden said in a statement provided to ESPN. “If colleges are profiting on their players, then these students deserve equitable pathways for their careers.”
Holden’s bill requires schools to share up to half of the revenue with athletes who compete in programs that bring in twice as much revenue as they spend on athletic scholarships.
Key part of that sentence is bringing in twice as much as they spend. For many college sports, especially those dubbed ‘Olympic sports’, don’t generate revenue that they would be able to share with their players.
This bill is mainly geared towards football and basketball. There are certain cases at select schools where other sports do generate enough revenue to count for this requirement.
Current student-athletes’ pay would be capped at $25,000 per year while they’re in school. Colleges would be required to set aside an equally divided 50% of revenue annually to be paid out upon completion of a degree within six years. At major football programs, such as Michigan, that could equal about $200,000 a year per player. Or $800,000 for a four-year career, according to some estimates.
This Was Proposed Before
A similar bill was proposed last year and rejected. Part of the reason was concern that schools would not have enough money left over to fund non-profitable sports.
This new bill provides an option for schools that see an increase in revenue can allocate 50 percent of that increase to pay athletes in those sports. But in the end, that would result in less money for all athletes.
If California does in fact pass this bill, there is no question that other states would follow suit almost immediately. That is exactly what happened when the Golden State passed the first NIL bill in 2019. Other states didn’t want their schools to get left behind, and so they quickly passed their own NIL legislation.
The bill also calls for a three-year ban on any athletic director who cuts teams or scholarships under these circumstances.
Not on Board with This
I am a big proponent of athletes being able to make money off of their name, image, and likeness. The fact that J.J. McCarthy couldn’t have gone and profited off his jersey being sold at the M-Den is mind blowing.
Or the fact Livvy Dunne couldn’t make money off her TikTok is absurd. These star athletes have massive followings, they should be able to profit off of that. And the fact that they now can is awesome.
But I’m not so much in favor of the school itself paying the athletes.
If the University of Michigan gives up half of the revenue it makes to pay the athletes, do you really think the school is just going to bend over and take that? No shot.
Schools will find another source to make more money, and the people who could get screwed the biggest out of that is the 99.9 percent of the other students who attend the college.
If athletic departments have to share half their revenue, the first thing the school will do is raise tuition. Which they already do every year anyway, but now they’ll be more aggressive about it.
Again, I’m all for the athletes getting paid on their own. But I’m not cool with making a kid who goes to Michigan for their dental school pay more so the football team that he may not even care about can pay their players.
The other group of people who are going to get bent over for this is you the fans. If you really don’t think schools would raise ticket prices to help off-set that lost money they are now handing over you are lying to yourself.
Have fun paying $100 to sit in row 97 to watch Michigan smack around Bowling Green.