The bill that was signed in California this week allowing college athletes to profit off their image and likeness could be the first real step toward changing the entire landscape of the NCAA, and Urban Meyer is among the many who are wary of it.
Meyer discussed the Fair Pay to Play Act in an appearance on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” this week, and he said it is going to permanently change college sports. The three-time national champion is concerned the bill is going to result in more players putting themselves before their teams.
“College athletics will never be the same,” Meyer said. “And how that impacts a person going to class, and being a team first, and the whole reason why we got into, why I did get into the purity of college athletics is because you get to mold 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds into a team-first mentality. That will be gone and I’m concerned about it.”
Meyer admitted there are “very legitimate” arguments for both sides, but he said legislating that is going to be an issue when such a small fraction of players are going to get endorsement opportunities. He was also asked if allowing players to make money could negatively impact team chemistry, and he believes it will.
“I can’t imagine (it wouldn’t). If you’re coaching a guy that’s making $600K like Ezekiel Elliott, how do you convince him that he has to go to class on Tuesday, because you’re 17, 18, 19 years old?” Meyer said. “So I just think the dynamics of this thing is going to be very interesting to watch. It will change college sports forever.”
The bill in itself doesn’t seem all that problematic, but it could obviously be a gateway to far bigger issues within college athletics. We’ve already laid out some changes we think should be made to the legislation, but two other states — New York and Florida — are currently working on similar bills. SB 206, the California bill, would take effect in 2023.