PITTSBURGH — Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi believes that NCAA players should be compensated for their time, but he’s not so sure that a new bill proposed in the Pennsylvania State Legislature is the solution.
Pennsylvania representatives Dan Miller and Ed Gainey are planning to introduce the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” to the Pennsylvania Assembly. It will be modeled after a bill that was just signed into law earlier this week in California.
The California version of the bill gives NCAA student-athletes the right to profit from their likeness while maintaining their amateur status. The text of the Pennsylvania version of the bill has not yet been made public.
Narduzzi said on Thursday that he agrees with the spirit of compensating players, but is worried that the proposal could have unintended consequences.
“It just seems like chaos. I think it’s chaos,” he said. “I think our kids should be paid. I think there’s got to be some type of structure to it.”
Narduzzi envisions a scenario where boosters and available sponsorship money create a recruiting free agency, where players are bid on by competing college’s fans and supporting businesses.
“It can’t be the local hardware store saying I’m gonna get [Pittsburgh Rivals publisher] Chris Peak, he’s my guy. I’m giving him a grand a week to play and he’s going to do a commercial for me. I don’t know what they’re doing, but it can’t be like that.
“Because someone else is going to come in and say, ‘I want Chris Peak to play for me. Chris, we’ve got a hardware store and a liquor store where we’re going to start sponsoring you.’
“Where does it end? It’s recruiting. All I would have to do is get all the boosters around and they’re offering. It just sounds like it’s gonna be chaos.”
Narduzzi didn’t have a counter-proposal at the ready, and admitted that he had not fully read up on the California law, which will not go into effect until 2023. But he knows that it’s not a future plan he wants to be a part of.
“If it becomes that chaotic, I’ll be going to the NFL, where there’s at least a salary cap and everybody’s playing under the same rules,” he said. “I’ll be in the NFL. That stuff is crazy.”