Miller weighs in on California bill

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Like many of the Big Ten coaches probed for an opinion on the subject, Indiana’s Archie Miller saw both positives and negatives in legislation to give California student-athletes the right to profit from their name, image, or likeness.

At the same time, he leaned into change.

“I think the big thing is that in today’s day and age, if you’re not evolving, if you’re not forward-thinking, you’re standing in cement, so to speak,” Miller said. “The days of what was once always the way to do things and good, in 2020 maybe isn’t the way to do it.”

The signing of California Senate Bill 206 into law this week put the subject of paying NCAA athletes at the forefront of discussion. Outgoing Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney was the first to be questioned on the subject at the start of the conference’s media day Wednesday.

Delaney expressed concerns about the law, which won’t go into effect until 2023. The legislation stands in direct conflict with the NCAA’s current rules.

“I think the law of unintended consequences and the law of slippery slope apply here, and so my view is I’ll be out in about 85 days,” Delaney said. “I think this will be discussed, and I think it will be litigated, and I think it will be a Congressional issue. We’re not perfect, but I think that the opportunities that we have for the great many shouldn’t be sacrificed at the altar of the 1 percent that probably would have an opportunity to benefit here.

“It’s a college game. It’s different than the NBA, different than the Olympics, different than the playground. So I hope we’re able to maintain the opportunities we have for men and women and avoid pay-for-play insofar as we can.”

Several coaches were asked about the bill. Most expressed some level of ignorance as far as the new law is concerned, which led to some line-toeing. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, for example, said he read multiple articles about the California bill and came out of it with more confusion than clarity.

“So I had nine articles, and there were nine different opinions. Mine is probably the 10th. The only thing that I would say on it, I sure as hell don’t think it’s a politician’s job to get involved in this,” Izzo said. “I’m baffled by that a little bit. But you know, I heard (Maryland coach) Mark (Turgeon) say, I’m in for players getting whatever they can get. I just don’t know what the effects are going to be.”

The signing of the bill brings with it a range of possible effects that need to be weighed. There are questions about how many athletes will actually benefit and how the NCAA maintains a level playing field for its teams, among others.

Miller, once a player at North Carolina State, figures many stakeholders will have to come together to iron out the details.

“There’s a lot of different opinions out there, from obviously university leaders, administrators, long-tenured coaches, to the college student-athletes themselves. I think there’s a lot that’s going to go into it, and there’s a lot of unanswered questions,”

Miller said. “And I think that there’s a lot of bright people in a lot of rooms that are going to get together and make the best decisions possible, hopefully. And No. 1 is to take care of the student-athletes the best way possible, protect the game, protect the universities, and to continue on with an unbelievable product.

“I was a student-athlete. I know what it’s like to play. I know what it’s like to play on TV and get all the perks that go along with having your face out there and all that stuff. And I think in my time, I never probably realized who actually made money on those names, on those faces, on those games, jerseys, newspapers. I never really thought of it that way. Now it’s a different age. It’s a different time. So there’s a lot more to think about when it goes into it.”

UConn start time

IU announced its Dec. 10 matchup with UConn in the Jimmy V Classic will be a 9 p.m. tip.

The two teams will face off at Madison Square Garden in New York City.


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