The rapidly evolving world of amateur athletics was the focus of the Ziffren Institute for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law IN-Sports panel “State of Play: College Sports Today” in November 2019.
A standing-room-only crowd heard from NCAA Chief Legal Officer and Chief Operations Officer Donald Remy and former NCAA Division I athlete Cody McDavis ’19. Doug Greenburg, partner at Latham & Watkins, served as moderator for the lively discussion.
Remy and McDavis addressed the implications of the Fair Pay to Play Act, the California law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that allows collegiate athletes to hire agents and accept compensation for product endorsements. The law’s passage spurred NCAA executives to unanimously vote in late October to permit student-athletes the ability to benefit from their names and likenesses in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.
Remy expressed optimism that this could lead to an acceptable solution to the age-old debate surrounding student-athlete pay, but stressed the difficulty of creating guardrails addressing considerations including gender equity. McDavis vigorously defended the amateur model, using his own experience as a Division I Athlete and the full-tuition scholarship he received as examples of the benefits of the traditional system.
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