KSL UNRIVALED

Romney For Student-Athletes Making Money, Against Them ‘Driving Around In Ferraris’

Oct 31, 2019, 2:11 PM | Updated: 2:16 pm
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is seen during a hearing before Senate Foreign Relations Committee Oct...
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is seen during a hearing before Senate Foreign Relations Committee October 22, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on "Assessing the Impact of Turkey's Offensive in Northeast Syria." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C – Utah Senator Mitt Romney has been one of the most vocal proponents for allowing student-athletes able to profit off of their likeness and now that the NCAA is backtracking on their initial stance against California’s “Fair Pay For Play” bill, Romney is in the conversation again.

The NCAA backtracked after initially being 100 percent against California’s “Fair Pay to Play” bill which passed with full support from the state.

Fast forward to more than a month later and the organization released its own non-specific statement looking into allowing student-athletes to benefit off of their name, image, and likeness.

No one should be shocked or give the NCAA too much credit for starting to reverse its course, warned Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry of KSL Unrivaled. There is no way they would give up the money they bring in by kicking out schools from states, like California, over athletes being given the opportunity to make money off their likeness.

This is happening, the exact form has not been decided and that is what potential court battles are going to be about over the next few years.

How Much Is Too Much?

Rules have not been formed on anything specific but there is already talk of putting in restrictions – or at least guidelines when it comes to “Fair Pay To Play.”

On ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Romney made headlines with his comment about not wanting to see a few select student-athletes driving around campus in Ferraris and becoming millionaires.

He said he would like to see some type of cap on potential earnings.

Romney went on to say that the rich will get richer and this could hurt either less successful teams, non-revenue athletes or ones play in small market areas might not benefit as much.

Kirry recognizes the benefit star players would have. They are more marketable than others and that makes more valuable which means they will benefit more than others.

“What should be on the table is an actual payment to a rate that is [fair]. Reggie Bush and Vince Young were the biggest names when [ABC] was pushing a national championship that year,” Kirry said. “One of the most-watched televised football games ever was that 2005 Rose Bowl, and it lived up to it.”

“Think about it? People were worshipping at the altar of Reggie Bush and Vince Young and they go home and were told ‘well, no, you are just an athlete and you get your schooling that gets paid for so you should shut your mouth.'”

Utah is not considered a large market and the Salt Lake region is No. 30. However, there are going to be companies that want a star player on the Utes, Cougars, or Aggies to support their brand.

Mitchell envisions how local Utah companies can create a beneficial partnership with NCAA athletes.

“I really believe this opens up an opportunity for a place like Salt Lake City. There is a lot of new money floating around here that people would love to get their hands on some of these athletes and be able to rub shoulders with them,” Mitchell said. “Right now they can’t but they would kill to be able to say, ‘I am going to have this person as a spokesman or affiliated with my company.'”

Not Everyone Will Make Money

One of the biggest arguments out there is that every player will get paid but that isn’t the case. There will be some that get paid and some that don’t, but it is the opportunity to benefit from your name, image, and likeness that is a stake. To make this work there will need to be some unique scenarios.

“My suggestion is having a percentage go to the player and the university,” Mitchell said “The player is at the university and that the university is paying the bills for that player, that player wouldn’t be at the university unless the university was there, and that player wouldn’t have that success if the other players around them weren’t contributing. Maybe a portion of it goes to the player and a portion to the university.”

There will be lots of conversations within the NCAA on how they might allow players to benefit from their name, image, and likeness. Players have value and some are more valuable than others –  that will show to be true when student-athletes are able to pursue opportunities based on the school they go to and the success they have.


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