California's new law that will attempt to pay college athletes will not deeply affect small colleges like Augustana. That's according to Augustana Athletic Director Mike Zapolski, who says the largest impact will be felt by the "power five" conferences in Division I: SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac 12.
He thinks the NCAA doesn't want to be seen as stopping athletes from profitting from their likeness, but issues - such as fairness between sports and genders - need to be considered first.
"The bottom line is this could potentially be a significant benefit for a handful of men's football players and men's basketball players that tend to get more publicity than a lot of other sports. Is that going to be positive for all Division I schools? Is that going to be a positive for women student athletes? There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed."
Zapolski is not a fan of the California law. He thinks the NCAA waited too long to act on the issue, allowing California to act first.
"With other states clamoring about doing the same and perhaps having an effective date sooner than 2023, it's really going to push the envelope for the NCAA in this current working group. [They are] supposed to be announcing some of their thoughts and opinions later this month to be much more aggressive moving forward in terms of trying to find some resolution on this topic."
Zapolski says it would not be in anyone's best interest to have different laws in different states, as it could give certain schools an upper hand in recruiting, among other things.
The California law is the first of its kind, and will take effect in 2023.