The Fair Pay to Play Act, signed into law on Monday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, does not go into effect until 2023, which is a long time away, but not so long it does not have a potential impact on student-athletes who are inundated with recruiting phone calls and text messages, weighing official and unofficial visits and going through the recruiting process.
The student-athletes in a 2020 recruiting class will be at the tail end of their college careers when the law takes effect, fourth-year juniors and seniors.
But there are too many questions still be worked through to be put into play at this point, Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford said.
“I just think there are so many unanswered questions right now,” Tedford said this week, a bye week for the Bulldogs. “To be trying to give people pertinent information would be misleading. As with any rule that changes, it has to be massaged around until it is thought well through.
“In my opinion, there is so much that has to go in to figuring out the details. You don’t know how the NCAA is going to react to it? Are there caps on it? There are so many things that go into it. I think it’s going to change three, four, five times by the time it happens. It’s not something that I’m really worried about right now, until you can really find out what the parameters are. You can’t mislead kids and say, ‘This is what’s going to happen’ or ‘That is what’s going happen,’ because everything changes.”
The California law allows student-athletes to capitalize on commercial use of their name, image or likeness, as well as hire agents or representatives to assist or secure opportunities from wide-ranging national and local marketplaces.
A student-athlete at Fresno State might not be the next spokesperson for a national brand, but they could have value to a local car dealership, restaurant or supermarket; they could sponsor a summer camp or make appearances at different businesses.
States including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina are taking steps to introduce similar bills.
“It’s a major thing and there has to be some regulation somewhere to it – depending on the school, depending on Title IX,” Tedford said. “It’s such a big deal to do that. Now I think it gives people an opportunity to dive into the details about what it would really mean.
“You’re going to have to get some people who really understand what college athletics is all about and take the big picture, both men, women, everybody. It gets into Title IX issues, the whole bit. I think there are going to be so many little details that people who understand college athletics as a whole need to think through and I’m sure that’s what they’re going to be doing in the next four years.”
Running through the Valley
The 79-yard touchdown run by freshman Jalen Cropper in the Bulldogs’ victory at New Mexico State was the second-longest rushing play in the Mountain West this season. The top five on that list, by the way, has three players from the central San Joaquin Valley:
- 80 yards – Trey Smith (Wyoming), Madison, Miss.
- 79 yards – Jalen Cropper (Fresno State), Parlier
- 78 yards – Charles Williams (UNLV), Fresno
- 75 yards – Sean Chambers (Wyoming), Kerman
- 75 yards – Marvin Kinsey Jr., (Colorado State), Atlanta
Preparing for Air Force
The Bulldogs are again practicing twice during their bye week and on Wednesday started in on some prep work for their Oct. 12 Mountain West Conference opener at Air Force.
As expected, the defense did a bit of individual work fending off cut blocks.
The Falcons (3-1), who play at Navy on Saturday, are leading the conference in rushing. For Fresno State, limiting Air Force and its success on first down and forcing it into some bad down-and-distances will be paramount, and it sets up as an intriguing matchup.
Air Force is averaging 5.8 yards per play rushing it on first down, while the Bulldogs are allowing just 2.9 yards on first-down runs.
It looks like Coleman’s corner
Third-year sophomore Chris Coleman, who started at cornerback in the Bulldogs’ victory at New Mexico State after moving last week from wideout, continued to get his individual work with the defense.
The reviews from his first start? Solid. “He had kind of a crash course,” defensive backs coach J.D. Williams said of Coleman, who was recruited as a defensive back. “He’s a really good athlete, so we had to catch him up on the coverages and whatnot. There was some recall, which is good, but he was in the office studying a lot.
“He made a couple of mistakes, had some nerves, but he settled in and played well for us. But just like anything else, the more experience you have the better you become at something. Now, it’s just a matter of doing the day-to-day stuff with him and letting him grow at the position.”