Geoff Heppes

The state of California recently passed the Fair Play to Pay Act, signed by governor Gavin Newsom and supported NBA superstar LeBron James. The new law allows student athletes at the collegiate level to make profit off their name, public image and likeness.

The signing was hosted by James on his platform The Uninterrupted, and the NCAA in a statement attributed to ESPN’s website said in a statement, “We will consider next steps in California while our members move forward with ongoing efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education. As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.”

There are aspects of both sides I agree and disagree with. As for the new law, I do not think athletes should be making hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars when most athletes at the collegiate level are already receiving a free education, which is worth up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Besides, that is what professional sports is for. If you aren’t a professional-caliber athlete, then take advantage of the free or highly-discounted education you are receiving to go on and have a successful career.

However, I do disagree with the NCAA as well. NCAA president Mark Emmert makes $2.4 million a year according to an article on USAToday’s website, and 11 NCAA executives bring in more than $450,000 a year in 2016 according to an article on

That is ridiculous.

These people should not be able to fill their pockets without giving proper benefits to the athletes. 

I believe a large sum of money, that the NCAA members and organization as a whole does not need, could be allocated to 1,100-plus universities to enhance benefits for college athletes. Things such as larger stipends for living, school supplies, transportation to and from campus if need be, etc.

There needs to be a balance between these.

Geoff Heppes is the sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or

Geoff Heppes is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or at

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