The Sports Report: Should college athletes be paid for the use of their name or image?

Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson
(Richard Shiro / Associated Press)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and I’m ready for Thursday’s U.S.-France match.

‘Fair Pay to Play’

A lot of people think college athletes should be paid. Some don’t. A lot of people think it’s wrong that the NCAA and universities make money off the marketing of individual players, with those players receiving nothing in return. Some think that’s fine. But the status quo may be changing.

The California state Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee passed a bill Tuesday that would fundamentally change how the NCAA conducts business.


NCAA rules bar athletes from being compensated for use of their names, images or likenesses. While the bill would not allow schools to directly pay athletes, athletes would be able to receive compensation from outside sources — for example, from a video game company or for signing autographs or memorabilia.

The Fair Pay to Play Act, approved by the state Senate in May, now moves to the Higher Education Committee.

“As I have read through multiple pages of articles on the NCAA and its punishments and its prohibitions and how folks have lost eligibility, it’s right out of the ‘Godfather’ movie,” Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles) said before voting for the bill.

NCAA President Mark Emmert is against the idea, sending a letter to the committee that read in part, “[W]hen contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships. As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it intends to assist.”


As noted in this story by Nathan Fenno and Melody Gutierrez, “The NCAA created a group of college presidents, conference commissioners, athletic directors and athletes in May to study how a college athlete could monetize his or her name, image and likeness “in a fashion that would be consistent with the NCAA’s core values, mission and principles.” The group will provide an update in August and is expected to issue a report in October, but Emmert warned it would not consider “concepts by which student-athletes are considered employees and paid for their athletics participation.”

“The proposed legislation prohibits the NCAA from banning a university from competition if the athletes were compensated. If the bill is passed by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Fair Pay to Play Act would take effect Jan. 1, 2023. That provides the NCAA time to make changes to its rules and California leeway to introduce future legislation if changes are needed to ensure schools are not penalized, said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who co-authored the bill.”

OK, back to your humble host here. I think it’s high time that college athletes get money for the use of their name in merchandising and video games (and anything else). But we’d love to hear what you think. Click here to vote in our poll, “Should college athletes be compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness?” or email me here and let me know what you think.



Bill Plaschke checks in with his thoughts on Jeanie Buss’ comments about Rob Pelinka on Monday. Here’s an excerpt:

“It was nice that after two months of front office implosions, Jeanie Buss finally decided to talk.

“That she conducted her first interview on a red carpet was as revealing as the interview itself.

“In her brief stops in front of the media Monday at the NBA Awards show, a seemingly detached Buss acted as if her Lakers are a star attraction that could simply dazzle their way back to greatness.


“She talked about the franchise as if she were promoting a movie. She sold hype. She spun buzz.

“She said a team that has missed the playoffs for a club-record six consecutive seasons is “in a really good place.’’

“She said a team that just traded for Anthony Davis but botched two crucial elements of that trade, probably preventing them from adding another superstar, is “on the right path.”

“She implored Lakers fans who have been insanely loyal in the wake of continuously debilitating drama to “be patient.”


“And of a franchise that used to count success only by championships, she said, “The goal has always been to be get back into the playoffs.”

“Huh? What? Really?

“The answers were so vacant, her words so rehearsed, it would not have been surprising had she been suddenly surrounded by a cast of co-stars lining up for a selfie.

“Look, give her credit for talking. Heck, give her credit for just showing up. There were no Lakers winning any awards. And the owner of a team that added two of the five best players in the NBA in the last two summers certainly should be optimistic.


“But where was the Jeanie Buss that once fired her brother, resisted a coup and took control of this team? Where was that public display of strength and resolve? What happened to that leader?

“During a time when potential free agents need to see real leadership — and Lakers fans need to feel real determination — her empty words left some people wondering.

“Does she still have that same firm grip on the leadership of this franchise? And if she does, is she more concerned about results or image?”

Again, read the whole thing by clicking here.


Women’s World Cup

Columnist Helene Elliott takes a look at U.S. coach Jill Ellis. An excerpt:

“Jill Ellis is too cautious. The U.S. Women’s World Cup coach didn’t go to her deep bench early enough in a tense 2-1 victory over fearless Spain on Monday, ignoring the damage of the stifling heat and the persistent physicality of a team that had nothing to lose against the defending champion Americans. Ellis should have unleashed big-game scorer Carli Lloyd sooner than the 85th minute of a game that would be extended seven minutes by injury time. And can anyone figure out why Ellis didn’t take advantage of Lindsey Horan’s commanding presence and put Horan in the starting 11, instead of bringing her into the game in the 89th minute?

“Jill Ellis is too adventurous. She experimented with different formations during the runup to the World Cup and developed a pattern of moving players out of position. Some of those moves involved shifting Julie Ertz from center back — the position Ertz plays for her club team — to midfield, turning Kelley O’Hara from an attacking player into a defender, and deploying speedy Crystal Dunn as a defender instead of as an attacking player. Ellis says moving players around helps prepare them for disruptions of suspensions and injuries. That makes sense. Still, why mess with players’ comfort zones and instincts?


“The truth about Ellis’ coaching style lies between those extremes. The key point is that she has endured, reinventing the team’s tactics after a shocking 2016 Olympic quarterfinal loss that is a line of demarcation between eras, as well as surviving a player revolt that Sports Illustrated reported arose in 2017 over her tactics and faulty communication skills.

“Almost forgotten in the social-media roasting she endured after the drama of Megan Rapinoe’s two penalty-kick goals and the team’s too-narrow escape from Spain clutches on Monday was that Ellis tied April Heinrichs’ program record by coaching in her 124th game. Ellis, the only woman to coach the U.S. to a World Cup championshipAnson Dorrance was the coach in 1991 and Tony DiCicco in 1999 — was paid $291,029 in fiscal year 2018, according to information on U.S. Soccer’s website.

“That’s about $3 million less than Jurgen Klinsmann was paid to not coach the U.S. men’s team, which lost in the round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. Ellis can become the first person to coach a men’s or women’s squad to two World Cup titles since Vittorio Pozzo led the Italian men to wins in 1934 and 1938. She will break the program record on Friday, when the U.S. women face dangerous France at Parc des Princes in Paris.”

Round of 16 games (PDT)


Saturday’s results

Germany 3, Nigeria 0

Norway 1, Australia 1 (Norway wins on penalty kicks)

Sunday’s results


England 3, Cameroon 0

France 2, Brazil 1

Monday’s results

United States 2, Spain 1


Sweden 1, Canada 0

Tuesday’s results (read game stories here)

Italy 2, China 0

Netherlands 2, Japan 1


Quarterfinal schedule (PDT)


Norway vs. England, noon, Fox



France vs. United States, noon, Fox


Italy vs. Netherlands, 6 a.m., FS1

Germany vs. Sweden, 9:30 a.m., FS1


The rest of the schedule (PDT)

Semifinal game, July 2, noon, Fox

Semifinal game, July 3, noon, FS1

Third-place game, July 6, 8 a.m., Fox


Final, July 7, 8 a.m., Fox

What is your favorite sports moment?

Something new to open up this newsletter and make it more reader interactive: What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Click here to tell me what it is and why, and I’ll start running them in future newsletters. And yes, if your favorite moment is about the Angels or Ducks or a team just outside of L.A., I’ll count that too. And the moment doesn’t have to have happened in L.A., just needs to involve an area team.

Odds and ends


Dodgers’ unusual lineup is able to hold off the Diamondbacks…. How Cody Bellinger found his zone…. Injured shortstop Andrelton Simmons to return to Angels this week…. Raptors president confident Kawhi Leonard will return to Toronto…. NHL schedule release: Kings to open 2019-20 season against Oilers…. Tommy La Stella‘s inside-the-park homer sparks Angels in win over Reds.

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Monday’s local sports schedule

Dodgers at Arizona, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Cincinnati at Angels, 5 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date


1819: Abner Doubleday, falsely credited with inventing baseball

1903: Former Dodger Babe Herman

1911: All-around athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias

1961: Cyclist Greg LeMond


1962: Basketball player Jerome Kersey

1963: Diver Wendy Lucero

1968: NFL player Shannon Sharpe

1971: Motorcycle racer Max Biaggi


1974: Baseball player Derek Jeter

1974: Baseball player Jason Kendall

1976: NFL player Chad Pennington

1980: NFL player Michael Vick


1984: Basketball player Raymond Felton

Died on this date

1993: Former Dodger Roy Campanella, 71

1997: NFL player Don Hutson, 84


2002: Football player Jay Berwanger (first person to win Heisman Trophy), 87

And finally

Babe Didrikson Zaharias competes in the 1932 Olympics. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.