Sen. Mitt Romney says he supports college athletes being able to capitalize on their name, image and likeness. But he doesn’t want to see the most prominent athletes at each school making considerably more money than everyone else.
Romney (R-Utah), was on ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Wednesday where he said college athletes deserved to make money because of the revenue that they bring to their schools. But he said athletes getting paid “could lead to some very unusual circumstances that need to be avoided.”
Those unusual circumstances are, apparently, players making enough money to afford Ferraris.
"What you can't have is a couple athletes driving around in Ferraris while everybody else is basically having a hard time making ends meet."@MittRomney, who's in favor of athlete compensation for name, image and likeness, explains there needs to be adjustments to the approach. pic.twitter.com/R38klYEDSk— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) October 30, 2019
“What you can’t have is a couple of athletes around campus driving around in Ferraris while everybody else is basically having a hard time making ends meet,” Romney said. “And you can’t have a setting where some schools who are in major markets and have big sport followings — some schools are like the honeypot and all the great athletes all want to go to those handful of schools. Then you kill collegiate sports.”
The irony of Romney being against vast income equality among collegiate athletes is quite thick. He’s one of the richest men in the United States and one of the richest members of Congress with a net worth in the hundreds of millions. He is one of the relatively few in America wealthy enough to drive around in a Ferrari.
Romney’s honeypot example also shows an incredible lack of awareness in the current college sports climate. Does he not realize that programs like Clemson and Alabama and Ohio State are routinely attracting five-star talents in football, while Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas are doing the same in basketball? The honeypot that Romney thinks could soon exist already does.
What doesn’t exist, however, is the ability for college athletes to get paid. While the NCAA’s new openness to players getting compensated was a significant step on Tuesday, no rules regarding image and likeness rights have been changed and won’t be changed in the coming weeks. There isn’t even a concrete plan for how the rules could be changed. That’s how early in the process this idea is.
But it’s not stopping politicians like Romney and others from being reactionary. Just hours after the NCAA’s statement Tuesday, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), threatened to propose a bill taxing players’ scholarships if they took endorsement income.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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