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California to pay college athletes, UW's Alvarez responds

California’s governor signed SB 206, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, into law on Sept 30. The plan to pay college athletes beginning in 2023 has raised eyebrows from UW–Madison athletic director Barry Alvarez, among others, who says he wouldn’t schedule games against California teams because “pay for play” makes them professionals, not amateurs. Alvarez’s comments came during a sports panel organized by WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee. Legal challenges to California’s laws are likely.

The law would allow students to earn money from endorsements, putting their names on shoes or doing car commercials, for example.

According to a report, Alvarez pointed to compensation a UW student football or basketball player already receives in Madison, including a tax-free monthly stipend (spending money), room and board, books, tuition, and medical care.

UW’s football program has games scheduled against UCLA in 2029 and 2030 that were booked in 2017. There’s no word on whether the schedule will be altered.

Oct 3, 2019 04:07 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Alvarez is free to disagree with the law, but the fact still remains that this is the direction that college sports and the law are eventually going to go.

If CBS is paying hundreds of millions of dollars for the rights to broadcast March Madness, and one of the features of their broadcast is "Zion Cam"...then Zion Williamson shouldn't be forbidden from profiting off of the fact that he - independent of the other team or Duke basketball - is uniquely drawing interest into the game that literally everyone in the building is profiting from, but for the athletes.

The line between what is an amateur and what is a professional is way more nebulous today than it was when Alvarez played college sports. The NCAA's response has been an unsustainable effort and trying to make it clearer, but the correct approach is to govern the sport within the confines of an ever-growing grey area.

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