Oct 3, 2019

The NCAA makes rules, not laws

NCAA president Mark Emmert. Photo: Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

With California's Fair Pay to Play Act dominating headlines and lawmakers across the country considering similar bills, it's important to remember that the NCAA doesn't have any authority when it comes to actual legislation.

The big picture: While the NCAA has its own rules and regulations for its member institutions and athletes, it doesn't have any ability to actually enforce actual laws — the ones passed by the government. Of course, that doesn't mean that running afoul of its own rules — resulting, for example, in the suspension of a cash-cow football team — wouldn't be a death knell for an institution's athletic program.

The Ringer's Rodger Sherman breaks down this maddening situation even further:

  • "Sometimes this can get confusing, because the NCAA has previously tried to punish schools that break laws (like when it issued sanctions against Penn State for its officials' failure to report the crimes of Jerry Sandusky) and because courts and federal agencies have previously decided to enforce NCAA [rules] (like the FBI's attempt to crack down on corruption in college basketball)."
  • "When a state government passes a law asserting jurisdiction over how college athletics works, though, the NCAA can do little else besides whine and hide."

In other words: "It's illegal for an athlete to receive a huge payment from a booster in the same way it's illegal for you to collect $1,000 in Monopoly money when passing go."

Go deeper: NCAA asks California governor not to sign student athlete "Fair Pay" bill

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NCAA to allow college athletes to be paid for their names, images and likenesses

Stanford's Gabe Reid and Jonathan McGill celebrate a sack. Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The NCAA's Board of Governors voted Tuesday to allow college athletes to receive compensation for their names, images and likenesses.

Why it matters: In the end, California won. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into in September that allows the state's college athletes to accept endorsement deals by 2023, upending the decades-long precedent set by the NCAA to prevent collegiate athletes from being paid.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

California forces the NCAA's hand

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The dam has officially cracked on college athletes benefiting from their own likenesses — now the question is how much ground the NCAA is actually willing to give.

Why it matters: California's landmark law, plus the threat of other states passing their own, has succeeded in forcing the NCAA to back away from its nuclear threats around player benefits.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019 - Sports

NCAA provides no details on plans to grant its athletes compensation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Under mounting pressure from California and other state legislatures, the NCAA's Board of Governors voted Tuesday to consider letting college athletes profit from their name, image and likeness.

The state of play: While this potentially clears the way for athletes to begin accepting endorsement deals — a monumental shift that would dramatically alter the economics of college sports — the official statement offered no details, and any specific rule changes will require further discussion.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019