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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

Go deeper

Trump political team disavows "Patriot Party" groups

Marine One carries President Trump away from the White House on Inauguration Day. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Donald Trump's still-active presidential campaign committee officially disavowed political groups affiliated with the nascent "Patriot Party" on Monday.

Why it matters: Trump briefly floated the possibility of creating a new political party to compete with the GOP — with him at the helm. But others have formed their own "Patriot Party" entities during the past week, and Trump's team wants to make clear it has nothing to do with them.

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Donald and Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.