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Today's word count: 1,518 words (<6 minutes).
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
It's not exactly universities being forced to pay players, but the NCAA just lost a major battle that threatens their control over the monetization of college sports.
Driving the news: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law yesterday that permits college athletes in the state to accept endorsement money and hire agents starting in 2023.
Why it matters: This is a direct challenge to the NCAA's long-held (and widely-contested) philosophy that student-athletes should earn a degree, not money, playing collegiate sports.
What's next: Bills are already in their infancy in other states — including Washington state and Colorado — so this could be the catalyst for a national movement.
What they're saying: The NCAA has threatened to ban California schools from competing due to fears they'd have an unfair recruiting advantage.
In response, ESPN's Jay Bilas, who has been outspoken about this for years, tweeted: "The NCAA 'agrees changes are needed,' but wants to do it on [their] own time, if at all. Well, you've had over 100 years to figure it out. Time is up."
P.S. … Newsom formally signed the bill alongside LeBron James on HBO's "The Shop," a show produced by James' digital media company, Uninterrupted.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Major sports leagues are experimenting with creative ways to disperse coverage via different digital, TV and social channels, giving rise to "multicasts," or multiple ways to experience the same game, writes Axios' Sara Fischer.
Why it matters: In a traditional TV world, almost all sports coverage was delivered through 1 live, linear feed, with a single set of announcers and analysts.
Driving the news: In an interview with Front Office Sports, NFL executive VP of media Brian Rolapp said that the league is considering expanding its multicast approach beyond just "Thursday Night Football."
What's next: Betting has also created an opportunity for leagues and networks to multicast the same game. NBC Sports Washington, for example, experimented with alternate broadcasts focused on live in-game betting this year.
Kendall's prediction: In the not too distant future, most live sports broadcasts are going to be a completely customizable experience.
Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
"Moments after the greatest 10.83 seconds of Dina Asher-Smith's life, the British sprinter grabbed a union flag from her mother, Julie, and began a lap of honour to celebrate her world championship 100m silver medal," The Guardian's Sean Ingle reports from Doha, Qatar.
The bottom line: "These world athletics championships have been a PR disaster for athletics ... and for Qatar, a country which has spent the past decade buying up rights to host major events, including the 2022 football World Cup."
The Blues are a 16-to-1 bet to repeat as Stanley Cup champions this season, which implies a mere 4.5% probability when adjusted for the vigorish, per FiveThirtyEight.
Technically, Jaylen Samuels is a running back, but he did it all in the Steelers' 27-3 win over the Bengals last night, wreaking havoc in the Wildcat formation and catching 8 balls from second-year QB Mason Rudolph.
"When Josef Martinez set the MLS scoring record last season with 31 goals, commentators described the feat with words like 'remarkable’ and 'historic.' … After all, the previous record of 27 had stood since Roy Lassiter set it in 1996."
44 years ago today, Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier by TKO in the 14th round in Quezon City, Philippines to retain his WBC/WBA heavyweight title.
Answer at the bottom.
Photo: John Fredricks/NurPhoto via Getty Images
With the Spikeball Nationals coming up this weekend in Richmond, Va., we're spending the week exploring the popular lawn game/sport.
Spikeball is technically called "roundnet" and has been around since the late 1980s. But it was reborn in 2008, when current Spikeball CEO Chris Ruder acquired the trademark for a whopping $500 and relaunched the brand.
Fun fact: In 2015, Ruder struck a $500,000 deal with Daymond John on "Shark Tank," but the deal never closed due to a differing of opinion.
Coming Thursday: How Spikeball went mainstream...
"Diego Maradona," a documentary about the legendary Argentinian footballer from Oscar-winning director Asif Kapadia ("Senna"), premieres tonight at 9pm ET on HBO.
James Harden has been perfecting a new move this offseason, and he broke it out last night during an exhibition game in China against the Shanghai Sharks.
"In the NBA, you got to find ways to create an advantage every single year. And that's what I'm doing. … This year, I'm going to come up with something more creative, and it's gonna look like a travel but it's not. Honestly!"— Harden, per SB Nation
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Harden is so polarizing, I love it" Baker
Trivia answer: Jets, Dolphins, Broncos, Bengals, Redskins, Cardinals