The Fair Pay to Play Act has had just as many critics as supporters.
Senator Mitt Romney appears to be straddling the line.
The junior Utah senator appeared on Wednesday’s episode of “Outside the Lines” on ESPN when he shared his thoughts on allowing college athletes to make money on their likeness, as permitted under Fair Pay to Play. Before digging into the law recently passed in California, Romney lauded the general idea of compensating college athletes.
“Well, I was pleased that the (NCAA) board of governors recognizes that we’ve got a lot of athletes that come from very poor backgrounds that need some additional remuneration — in some cases, to take care of their families, but to provide from themselves as well. So, I’m glad that they recognized that.
“But I also hope they recognize that this whole idea of using name, image and likeness as a way to compensate athletes could lead to some very unusual circumstances that need to be avoided. So, there’s some work that needs to be done.”
So, what’s his issue with Fair Pay to Play?
“Look, what you can’t have is a couple athletes on campus driving around in Ferraris when everyone else is basically having a hard time making ends meet,” Romney said. “And you can’t have a setting where some schools are in major markets or have big sport followings. Some schools are like the honey pot, and all the great athletes all want to go to those handful of schools. That’s when you kill a collegiate sport.
“So, there needs to be some adjustment to the whole name, image and likeness approach to make sure that we don’t create those problems.”
Hear us out, but doesn’t that sound like what already goes on in college sports? (Minus the whole Ferarri thing, of course.)
Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to see more support for an initiative like this. After all, it’s hard to argue against paying people for their hard work.