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Archive for October 2, 2019

Oct. 2, 2019 — A labor conundrum

Remember this?

Earlier this week, this happened.

The Fair Pay to Play Act allows college athletes, at least those in California, to make money off endorsements, and to make money off the usage of their names, images and likenesses. In addition, athletes would be able to hire agents.

Since the bill was signed, there has been all sorts of speculation about where the legislation could be passed next. And, of course, the speculation has started in states with football factories such as Florida and Texas.

But news outlets near Pittsburgh have reported that a pair of Allegheny County legislators are proposing similar legislation for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Could Pennsylvania be a game-changer? If you’re thinking only about Fair Pay to Play as only being for football and men’s basketball, the universe of discourse is just 14 schools, of which only three — Temple, Penn State, and Pittsburgh — are in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

But my thinking goes far beyond revenue sports.

Instead, think about the fact that the national governing body of field hockey has its primo training center in Pennsylvania. And think about the number of college-eligible athletes who have had to sacrifice to play for the national team while being in college because they can’t make ends meet.

Now, you’re wondering why I’m thinking about the college athlete as a prime candidate for participation in the U.S. high-performance system. It’s no different from past years: the history of field hockey in America is full of tales about collegiate (and even some scholastic) players on the U.S. team because of the difficulty of retaining postgraduate players.

Here’s the thinking: if college players making the U.S. high-performance level are able to receive an extra stipend from their university, that is, for me, an extra opportunity to retain that player once their college eligibility ends.

And even though the rules regarding Fair Pay to Play would only involve a handful of people on the current women’s national team, the effect would be significant, especially since one of the current collegians on the Olympic qualification team is goalie Kelsey Bing, who attends Stanford.

It’s an interesting thought experiment. And it could be interesting to see what comes of the legislation once it goes through judicial review.