Kansas State at Oklahoma State

Mike Gundy after Oklahoma State’s football game vs. No. 24 Kansas State in Stillwater, Oklahoma at Boone Pickens Stadium, on September 28, 2019.

On a day when the California governor signed a controversial bill allowing college athletes to profit from endorsements and hire agents, coaches in Oklahoma were unsure of what the long-term impact on their programs would be.

“I know it’s several years before it goes into effect,” OU football coach Lincoln Riley said Monday. “It’ll be interesting to see. I don’t know. I don’t know that I’ve put a ton of thought around it right now. We’ve got a little time to do that.”

While the measure is set to take effect in California in 2023, similar bills are being introduced in other states, setting the stage for a major clash with the NCAA likely to be resolved in court.

“The issue you have is what if one state does it and a different state doesn’t?” said Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State’s football coach. “What does the NCAA do? There’s your attorneys on a state and federal level making a killing. They’re lined up out there saying, ‘I’d love to take that case.’ ”

Gundy said players wouldn’t make as much on autographs, for example, as people think but “if the players get a chance to make a little money, pay ’em a little money. I don’t see a big deal in that.”

The NCAA responded to the California bill by saying “a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field” — a significant concern for colleges across the country.

“I just think we haven’t figured it out yet, in terms of how to handle some of the issues in college athletics,” Tulsa basketball coach Frank Haith said. “I don’t have a strong opinion (on the bill) one way or the other … but I think it’s going to be hard to do that and have a level playing field.”

Under the current model, the NCAA has amateurism rules in place that prevent college athletes from being compensated as a result of the use of their name, image or likeness. Receiving money for those would result in a loss of eligibility.

“We all complain about the NCAA at times, but it has been uniform,” Gundy said. “The speed limit’s the speed limit. That’s one great thing about this country — for the most part we try to stay uniform. We all follow the same laws. The NCAA, people complain about it, but they have done that. The system is in place.”

The move by California is making waves and prompting debate on a hot topic in college sports, but it’s also raising more questions than answers.

“I would hope that for the sake of sports and all that’s good with college sports that everybody doesn’t just think about themselves or trying to win a vote or this or that,” Riley said. “I hope everybody really thinks about the big-picture view of this, because this is a big deal, obviously. We have a great thing going and hopefully don’t screw it up.”

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Kelly Hines 918-581-8452


Twitter: @KellyHinesTW

Sports Writer

Kelly has been the University of Tulsa football and basketball beat writer since 2014. She grew up in Moore, was valedictorian at Christian Heritage Academy and graduated from Oklahoma State University. Phone: 918-581-8452