Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom got the first ever Fair Pay to Play Act to pass, and it’s set to take effect in 2023.
Colleges reap billions from student athletes but block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 30, 2019
This ultimately started a ripple effect across the country that the NCAA just could not stop. On Tuesday, the NCAA Board of Governors announced it had voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to benefit from the use of their names, images, and likeness. This will no doubt muddy the waters on the difference between an amateur golfer and a professional, and completely contradicts the whole purpose of keeping professionals, professionals, and amateurs, amateurs.
College golfers may be able to profit from working summer golf clinics or even small endorsement deals with golf equipment and apparel manufacturers. By current professional golf standards, that immediately makes a professional. It will be very interesting to see what the R&A has to say about this new Act in relation to its rules on amateurism.
Michael V. Drake, the chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors and current president of Ohio State said, “We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.” “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education.”
In a statement by the USGA, it was made very clear that they did not want to get too ahead of themselves in terms of the direction they might take, releasing a statement stating:
While we’re watching what is happening in California and various states, it’s simply too premature to contemplate all the ways this might affect the golf community in the future. We’re thankful for the working relationship we share with the NCAA and the ability to continue an open dialogue through this process.”
Golf is the only sport where there is an actual clear cut, very descriptive line between being a professional and not. Things like playing small qualifying tours and getting a Tour card are part of the process. Being allowed and invited to play the major tournaments without having to achieve those goals is one of the benefits to being an amateur.
You get to reap the benefits of what it takes to be a tour pro and cutting your time to get there considerably. Throw this new Act in the mix and now you have a receipt for a lot of confused golfers and what direction they want their career to go. As it stands right now, they would not be allowed to participate in tournaments because they are already accepting money. Since this is not taking place until 2023 there is plenty of time to work out the kinks and hopefully the future of collegiate golf continues to flourish.
h/t: Golf DIgest, ESPN