football Edit

Tanner weighs in on California bill on player likeness


As college football kicks off for another season, the annual debate about players being able to make money of their likeness is taking center stage again this time with a little more traction than in years past.

A bill that would compensate student-athletes passed the California state legislature this week and a similar bill is expected to be re-introduced in South Carolina once the legislature reconvenes next year, according to Avery Wilks at The State newspaper.

At Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, athletics director Ray Tanner was asked about it and said there’s still a lot of unknowns out there before the bill—if signed by the governor—takes affect in 2023.

Ray Tanner || Photo by Montez Aiken
Ray Tanner || Photo by Montez Aiken

“There’s a lot of things that will happen before then and I anticipate a lot of litigation,” Tanner said. “It’s a very difficult process. I think we’re in a really good place.”

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The bill would allow students to make money off their likeness, which includes things like advertisements, jersey sales and other things similar to those.

Tanner said it’s a very interesting situation with a long way to go before everything’s settled but said he thinks South Carolina is in a good place with what they offer athletes right now.

“I think we’re in a really good place. We do cost of attendance now and provide all kinds of services,” he said. “I probably shouldn’t do my editorial, but I don’t see how it could ever work. We have 21 sports and for all intents and purposes, football pays the freight for the other 20. If we’re going in that direction, however it may be set up, it’s going to affect financially in a big way.”

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Tanner continued saying he’s worried if South Carolina’s bill passes the Gamecock athletic department couldn’t be as profitable as it is currently. According to USA Today’s annual piece, South Carolina had revenue just over $140 million with a profit of just over $5 million.

“Those institutions like ours that are self-supporting will no longer be self supporting. You’d have to get rid of a lot of sports,” Tanner said. “Would our donors continue to give to our programs or will they give to student-athletes? Where would the sponsorships go? Would they go to student athletes or would they stay within the athletics departments.”

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In response to the California bill, the NCAA’s said any team who allows for players to profit off name and likeness will not be eligible to compete for NCAA Championships.

According to senior deputy athletic director Chance Miller, football’s legislative body has sent out surveys to every school in all three divisions to get feedback on potentially allowing players to make money off their likeness.

“We have filled that survey out on our thoughts and concerns are in the matter,” he told the board. “You have a lot of concerns with how you sponsor sports, how you budget that appropriately. You have Title IX concerns with federal law and how you treat men’s and women’s sports. They’re in the process of doing that now.”