The College Athlete Advocacy Initiative is taking a hard stand for its cause this week with the release of a video satirizing the widely viewed NCAA “Opportunity” commercial with Jerry Rice.
The advocacy group spoofed the ad, which touts that only two percent of collegiate athletes will turn pro, by showing three fictional high school athletes announce their college choices on signing day with a twist and dig at NCAA rules regarding name, image and likeness.
The commercial begins as expected, until they don hats as their faces simultaneously blur out. The cut sequence shows them announce the following:
“I’m excited to announce that for the next four years, I’m happy to surrender my name, image and likeness while they make billions off of ticket sales, TV ratings and merchandise. I agree to give up my rights, to be exploited for profit and to forever shut up and dribble.”
The NCAA does not allow athletes to make money off of name, image or likeness, including from jersey sales or sponsorship. It’s an issue that’s reaching courts and state legislative bodies, with California set to vote any day on a bill that would allow athletes to more easily make money any day, per USA Today.
The ad closes by saying, “There are over 480,000 college athletes and none of them have the right to their own name, image or likeness.” It’s a direct play off of the well-known commercial with Rice, who begins a 30-second spot by saying, “There are over 480,000 college athletes; only two percent will go pro” and describes how they will get something “much more valuable” than those accolades.
The College Athlete Advocacy Initiative, formed by attorney and former NCAA compliance investigator Tim Nevius, is using the ad to raise awareness and money to “fight for fairness on behalf of college athletes.” It provides legal and advisory services to athletes impacted by certain NCAA rules.
The ad dropped days before the California State Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would allow collegiate athletes inside its borders to earn compensation for using their name, image or likeness. The bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2023. It has passed by a wide margin in the state senate and assembly committees.
The NCAA and California schools oppose the bill. NCAA president Mark Emmert indicated in a letter that if the bill passed, schools in California would be prohibited from NCAA championships.
“When contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships. As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student athletes it intends to assist.”
Emmert asked the committees to postpone any action on the bill until the NCAA reviewed its rules. In May, the NCAA announced a “working group” of school executives to look at the issues.
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