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Will Washington state legislature be the latest to try and upend the NCAA?

Doubtful, but still — this is great.

NCAA President Mark Emmert Addresses Media Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NCAA has taken a beating lately on a number of fronts, ranging from the court of public opinion to just, yanno, actual courts. It probably was only a matter of time that the organization that governs collegiate athletics would start to face policy challenges, and the first step in that direction is actually coming from the state of Washington.

GOP state representative Drew Stokesbary, of Auburn, has introduced legislation that would make it against state law to prevent college athletes from receiving compensation “for services actually provided” — mainly endorsements, but it presumably could also take the form of promotional appearances or other services related to athletic notoriety. Via Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone:

To use Stokesbary’s example, under his bill a shoe company would be able to pay a University of Washington running back $50,000 to appear in a television commercial. And if the NCAA or Pac-12 tried to prohibit such payment, it would be a violation of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act and state antitrust laws.

Under the latest version of the law, athletes would have a legal claim against the NCAA for anti-trust violations if the NCAA tried to enforce sanctions.

The idea for the bill came from Stokesbary’s disdain for the NCAA’s inequitable split of more than $8 billion in annual revenue.

“That seemed unfair to me,” Stokesbary said. “And I see more and more examples of the NCAA trying to enforce rules in ways that seem increasingly arbitrary. As college sports fans, we like the idea of a pure class of amateurs, but if we’re being honest, we have to acknowledge it doesn’t exist now, and maybe never existed.”

Of course, this is in direct conflict with NCAA rules, which explicitly prohibit such compensation, leading one to wonder how such a law would play out. Would the NCAA attempt to level sanctions against any athlete who took advantage of the law? Would it stand up to a challenge in court?

Stokesbary didn’t have a lot of hope that the bill would become law, noting that this is sort of the first stab at what is a complex issue. But the bill did get a hearing in committee this week. And, predictably, representatives for the Washington State Cougars and Washington Huskies were less than thrilled with the prospect of being at the forefront of this debate.

“We’d rather not be the guinea pig for this national situation,” Chris Mulick, a spokesman for WSU, told the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee on Tuesday.

That’s understandable; the institutions benefit from the system, so of course they don’t want to rock the boat. Which is why I think this is a great step.

No, it won’t become law. But since change rarely happens all at once, conversations like this continue to chip away at the facade of college athletics as some bastion of altruism. And while models for compensation can be complex, this one is pretty simple! I’ve long been a proponent of this kind of model for compensating college athletes. See what the market will bear in terms of licensing their likenesses and the schools get around having to figure out a way to actually pay them. Seems pretty easy to me.

Are there ways for schools to take advantage of it? Sure. People always say things like, “OH GREAT NOW ALABAMA CAN JUST BUY EVERY RECRUIT!” Well ... Alabama’s already getting all the recruits, folks. USC and UW are also already kicking our asses in recruiting. I doubt this kind of policy change would affect a school like WSU very much.


Stokesbary: “There are a number of people, high-profile cases, who are contributing to the university and NCAA far more than the $50,000 value of tuition. It seems kind of unfair that at the end of the day, the people in charge get to say, ‘We’ll keep all the money, and you don’t get any.’ ”

I can think of at least one athlete this past season who provided value far and above what he was compensated for. This is a common-sense way to allow someone like Gardner Minshew II to get a piece of the pie.

Hoops Recap Links

WSU won another conference game last night, 76-74 over Colorado. Hooray! We covered the game with our recap over here.

Washington State halts Pac-12’s hottest team, edging Colorado for 76-74 victory | The Spokesman-Review
Since Feb. 2, nobody had been better than Colorado, which took a five-game win streak into Wednesday night’s contest at Beasley Coliseum. But it’s possible nobody has been more confident than the Cougars, who stopped the Buffaloes in their tracks, winning 76-74 behind strong offensive games from Robert Franks and CJ Elleby.

Kent: WSU learned to close the deal in 76-74 win over Colorado -
One post player was an unsung hero.

Cougars cool off Colorado | Sports |
With half a second left on the clock and his team trailing 76-74 Wednesday night at Beasley Coliseum, Colorado’s D’Shawn Schwartz caught an inbound pass and instantly launched a 3-point field goal attempt aimed at snatching the victory from the jaws of defeat to the Cougar men.

Washington State holds off Colorado 76-74 - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougars have won three of their last four games.

Washington State halts CU Buffs' winning streak - Denver Post
PULLMAN, Wash. -- — With five road wins already to its credit going into Wednesday night's game at Washington State, the Colorado men's basketball team already owned as many road victories as the Buffaloes recorded the past two seasons combined.

Sloppiness, missed opportunities lead to Buffs demise in Pullman - The Ralphie Report
Colorado battled all night long, but was unable to come out victorious, ending their win streak at five.

Buffs win streak snapped, drop at Washington State - BuffStampede
The Colorado Buffaloes had a wide-open dunk from the block missed it and it turned into a run-out Washington State Cougars three-pointer. That happened in the first half, and then again the second half. 10 point swing, in a game the Buffs lost 76-74.

Recap: Washington State men's basketball and Colorado go down to the wire as Cougs grab third straight home win against Buffs | Pac-12
Pac-12 Networks' Don MacLean and Guy Haberman recap the matchup between Colorado and Washington State that came down to the wire in Pullman.

Everything Else

Coug Andre Dillard a first-round pick? ESPN's Mel Kiper says yes -
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has Dillard listed in the top-15 of his best overall draft prospects.

Ranking Gardner Minshew's WSU performances ahead of NFL Combine -
A tougher task than it seemed

Staying nation’s most underrated should be harder for WSU in '19 -

Washington State RB James Williams could be Bears ideal sleeper pick - BearsWire
Washington State running back James "Boobie" Williams is an under-the-radar NFL Draft prospect who could fit well with the Chicago Bears.

WSU, Pac-12 college basketball attendance a real eye-opener -
What USC and Wazzu markets have in common

College Football's Top Non-Conference Games in 2019 Outside of the Power 5 - Stadium
No. 4 – Houston vs. Washington State at Houston, Sept. 13

Brock Motum on the Boomers and basketball globetrotting
His career has spanned both the US College, Europe, and the NBL, with his dedication and commitment to the grind never wavering. The Pick and Roll spoke with the power forward about his career so far and what was to come.

Soccer Sets its Spring Schedule - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougars will play four times during the spring.

2019 Volleyball Camp Registration Open - Washington State University Athletics

Final Regular Season Road Trip Begins in Boulder - Washington State University Athletics
The women's basketball team goes for the sweep of Colorado Friday night.

Washington State Heads to the Islands for John A. Burns Intercollegiate - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougar golfers look to build off of their momentum from the Anteater Invitational.

Schoenlein Signs Pro Contract With The Sta. Lucia Realtors - Washington State University Athletics
The former WSU volleyball standout looks to take her talents to the Philippine Superliga.

Cougars Head to Santa Clara for Four-Game Series - Washington State University Athletics
The baseball series starts Thursday at 6 p.m. in Santa Clara.

Cougars Tennis Enters Rankings at No. 15 - Washington State University Athletics
WSU's previous high ranking was 26 during the 2002 season.