Dodd: California Law "A Sign Of The Times"

The "Fair Pay to Play Act" seems inevitable, Dennis Dodd says, but the NCAA is making this harder than it has to be

Taz and the Moose
June 28, 2019 - 9:06 am
Mark Emmert NCAA President

USA Today Images


California is seeking to enact the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” which would allow student-athletes, in essence, to be compensated for their name, image and likeness. 

Schools wouldn’t pay students directly, but California colleges and universities that receive an average of $10 million a year in media-rights revenue would be prohibited from denying student-athletes the ability to, for example, sign endorsement deals, join advertising campaigns, and sign licensing contracts. college football writer Dennis Dodd is all for it.

“I think it’s a sign of the times,” Dodd said on Taz & The Moose. “I think this is going to happen. The fact that earlier this year the NCAA actually started a working group to look at that, I think, is some of the biggest news of the year. For years, they just said no. No autographs, no anything. I think they see the realization – whether it’s the pressure from the courts or just eye-opening – that this is going to happen.

“Whether you believe athletes deserve to be compensated more or not, I think they certainly deserve to have their birthright – and that’s ownership of their name, image and likeness,” Dodd continued. “That doesn’t necessarily mean everybody is going to get a windfall, but it does mean, for example, these guys could get together, form a licensing agreement with somebody, and put money in escrow for when they graduated. That’s not a recruiting inducement, that’s not paying players, that gets around Title IX, and I think it could happen. People are trying to make this more complicated than it seems.”

That includes the NCAA, which is threatening to ban California schools from competing for championships if the bill isn’t dropped. That would affect 23 Division I schools, four of which play in the Pac-12.

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins believes California should call the NCAA’s bluff.

“She basically called B.S. on that,” Dodd said. “Let’s see if the NCAA does and they shut down the Rose Bowl – because that’s what they’re talking about. All those players wouldn’t be eligible to play in the Rose Bowl. Do you think that’s going to happen? No. So something is going to have to be worked out.”

Indeed, the NCAA may need to accept the law as a middle ground between amateurism and compensating players.

“I don’t think they need to become rich,” Dodd said of student-athletes, “but I did a story a few years ago with Josh Rosen when he was with UCLA. He told me even with all the money these kids are receiving from cost of attendance, they were still teammates sleeping on the facility floor because they couldn’t make rent that month.

“I’m not saying write them a check every week. I’m saying give them the same rights that we all have, that we can go make money off of our likeness. Nobody is going to get rich off this thing; to me, it’s more the idea of letting them have ownership of it and any money they would make.”

Click below to listen to Dodd’s interview in its entirety.