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NMSU football coach says law allowing college athletes to get paid will ‘destroy college athletics’

New Mexico State’s head football coach says a new California law that will allows college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness will “destroy college athletics.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law this week. It will go into effect in 2023, if it survives the expected court challenges, and could reshape the NCAA.

“Only the power conference schools will be able to survive this, because they are going to have the money to do it,” NMSU coach Doug Martin said.​​​​​​​

The Fair Pay to Play Act allows college athletes in California to sign endorsement deals; earn compensation based on the usage of their name, image and likeness; and sign all types of licensing contracts that would allow them to earn money.

California schools will arguably have an advantage in recruiting athletes, as they are allowed to profit from their name, image and likeness. Legal analysts believe the NCAA may ultimately have to allow all college athletes to benefit from the same rights bestowed on athletes in California.

“I don’t think this is the right way to do it,” Martin said. “In my opinion, this is going to destroy college athletics. In states like New Mexico, you’re not going to have college athletics.”

The debate over NCAA amateurism and the money that the NCAA and schools generate through college athletic programs has raged on for years. Current NCAA amateurism rules are put in place to distinguish college athletes from professional athletes.

For the 2017 fiscal year, the NCAA reported $1.1 billion in revenue. Considering all the money that these athletic programs generate for both the NCAA and each of the schools, critics have argued that students should be able to profit off the revenue that they help generate.

The NCAA operates as a nonprofit organization. For its part, the NCAA says it’s looking at next steps.

“As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process. Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California,” the NCAA said in a statement.

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