AD Gene Taylor shares his thoughts on athlete compensation

Freshman wide receiver Joshua Youngblood makes a “WC” sign with his hands towards the crowd during K-State's football game against West Virginia at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 16, 2019. The Wildcats lost to the Mountaineers with a final score of 24-20. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

On Sept. 30, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will allow players to be compensated from their name, image and likeness starting in 2023.

The bill is a piece in the pay-for-play debate, but it is not a pay-for-play law.

“There has been so much talk about direct pay for play,” Kansas State Athletic Director Gene Taylor said. “This is the next iteration and the next logical step.”

Taylor said the key issue in the bill is having a level playing field.

“The best thing would be to come up with a legislation that would work for everyone,” Taylor said. “We cannot have 50 different laws on the same issue.”

Taylor said he would approve of a name, image and likeness bill in Kansas.

“If we figure out something that is fair for the universities and for the athletes to have more money, I would be fine with [a bill in Kansas],” Taylor said.

Not everyone in the Big 12 feels the same way.

“The passage of SB206 will negatively impact the universities in California and will undermine the unique American collegiate model that has been an enormous source of opportunity for millions of young student-athletes and many millions of fans,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement to media.

Bowlsby said he believes universities in California could become unstable and not successful with the law.

“This bill creates great instability for the intercollegiate athletics programs at universities in California,” Bowlsby said.

Bowlsby said he believes universities in California will have an unfair recruiting advantage compared to Big 12 universities.

“The schools in our conference and those throughout the United States seek national recruiting and national competitive environment that can only be accomplished with fair and uniform rules and policies,” Bowlsby said.

Taylor said he is not sure about how successful the bill will be because sponsorships for collegiate athletes could be tough to come by.

“If it is just name, image and likeness, that affects very few athletes,” Taylor said.

Another potential concern with the bill is Power Five conferences (Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 10, Big 12, Southeastern Conference and Pac-12) having a recruiting advantage over the smaller conferences because of the exposure. However, Taylor said he does not see that as a concern.

“Power Five conference schools are more visible, so it could be an advantage,” Taylor said. “Group of Five communities are very supportive though so it might not be that big of an advantage.”

Even those not directly involved in collegiate sports have an opinion on the matter.

“I think it is okay for athletes to get paid to a certain extent,” Matt Kennedy, freshman in finance, said. “They should be paid for their name, image or likeness, but not as an athlete. The schools are paying them to play sports with their scholarship already.”