ESPN's Jay Bilas blasts NCAA, Pac-12's responses to California's new athlete likeness law
California passed a new law on Monday that will allow NCAA athletes to profit from their likenesses starting in 2023.
The NCAA and some of its member conferences have begun losing their minds, calling out the state for the bill.
On Monday’s “The Paul Finebaum Show,” ESPN analyst Jay Bilas ripped the responses of the conferences and the NCAA, saying the organization crying about doomsday is disingenuous:
“The response from the Pac-12, from the NCAA and others around college athletics has been with their hair on fire to start proclaiming doom’s day is around the corner,” he said. “I thought it was especially interesting that the Pac-12 was saying this law that Gov. Newsom signed today was somehow going to hurt Olympic sports, hurt women and dogs and cats were going to live together and global warming will accelerate as a result of this was kind of laughable when you consider California is the fifth-largest economy in the world and somehow if athletes are allowed to make contracts with third parties that are outside of their university that the entire college athletics structure is going to crumble. And women’s sports are going to be canceled. No economist would agree with that. It’s sort of hard not to laugh when you read all these things.”
Bilas was just getting started, though. He continued to blast the NCAA and the responses from the major conferences:
“The good news is for the NCAA and really for everyone is that there’s time for reasonable people to figure this out. The California law doesn’t go into effect until January 2023,” Bilas said. “So the NCAA in their statement today said we agree that change is necessary, well, but they want to undertake that change on their own time and figure it out for themselves and really the state of California has said well, you’ve had over 100 years, they’ve got until 2023.
“The easiest and I think the best thing to do is for the NCAA to say all athletes in college can monetize their name, image and likeness rights for the same level. So go ahead, open it up for everybody. Then problem solved, there’s no sort of mythical advantage to the state of California and all those schools. I don’t know that they’ll do that. After the Reagan Commission made its findings, Condoleezza Rice and some other members of the commission came out and said that the NCAA has got a name, image and likeness problem, they need to figure out. So a 19-person committee was started that’s being chaired by Gene Smith the AD at Ohio State and Val Ackerman, Big East Commissioner. I don’t think much is going to come of this absent what California did, and other states, South Carolina’s got similar legislation that’s being pushed through, New York’s doing something in that realm, although it’s a little further, it goes further than California, and then the United States Congress is taking this up. So there’s a senator in Connecticut named Chris Murphy who’s pushing this, representative in North Carolina named Mark Walker, that’s pushing this. They say that they’ve got bi-partisan support.
“The United States Department of Justice the anti-trust division has held a workshop on this last week. They’re looking into it. And the NCAA’s been found multiple times to have violated federal anti-trust law with regard to players. So we’ll see where it goes. The fight’s just starting, I think, but it was a huge salvo by the state of California that’s tilted this toward players getting their name, image and likeness rights in the marketplace.”
Bilas also sent out a snarky response to a statement SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released about the California bill:
Funny how Greg Sankey and the SEC can navigate differing state laws to sell its own network and stage games all over the country for hundreds of millions of dollars, yet athletes getting more than a scholarship is a problem. What nonsense. https://t.co/JAxxsvZknR
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) September 30, 2019
This battle is just getting started, so we’ll see what happens over the coming months and years.