Too many college sports fans here in Albuquerque and our state of New Mexico aren’t paying enough attention to the recently passed Student Athlete Endorsement Act that goes into effect on July 1. I know it’s not a sexy topic like the New Mexico United about to kick off their season or the transactional nature of a new player or coach joining or leaving the Lobos or Aggies. But the developments we discussed yesterday on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM are incredibly powerful conversations that can become seriously impactful to the college sports we all love so much.
Why is this suddenly big news? Because here in New Mexico, Republican Senator Mark Moores is spearheading a bipartisan effort, and on a national scale, Justice Brett Kavanaugh has demonstrated harsh criticism towards the NCAA from his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Though the comments being made aren’t anything new, this conversation has been going on for decades – it is who it is coming from that is important.
Research will suggest to you that more of the college athletics donors and local politicians that are supportive of the college sports programs we love are Republican. On the other hand, those that are more likely to question intercollegiate athletics and its systems are Democrat. DISCLAIMER: I did not say always (for some of you please take a breath), just more likely.
The questioning of the power and money of the NCAA and its member institutions has gone on far enough under the radar that you, the casual or even serious sports fan, didn’t know or care much about it. You have been largely informed that the athletes get more than enough compensation, and how dare they ask for more. They should appreciate what they get! That type of conversation has been perpetuated for decades to ward off any kind of significant change to the current college sports system. As long as that support was being upheld by the right people with money and power, there was little athletes or advocates could do about it.
But to have Moores and Kavanaugh speak out challenging this image and because of where they are making those comments from – the right side of the aisle – this is significant. It is rare to find voices of this orientation making comments that could be detrimental to the power structure that keeps the NCAA and its member schools going. Where this goes from here, no one can predict. Some see it as being the end of enormous coaching salaries, others as the long-term death of non-revenue generating sports, and there are those that believe this will benefit everyone in college sports because it’s making it a more equitable place for the kids we cheer on (and unfortunately sometimes boo). Regardless of the specific outcome, if you love college sports, this is a topic you should start to follow because it will eventually impact your favorite team whether you agree with the cause or not.
New Mexico State Senator Mark Moores joined Joe O’Neill, Paul Weir, and Sam Hauser on TEAM Talk to discuss the Student Athlete Endorsement Act. Below is the full interview.