Gophers' Pitino on CA law opening college athlete pay: 'I think it's a good idea'

"The more that we can get these guys, these student athletes, I'm all for it."

Sloane Martin
October 02, 2019 - 11:14 am

Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images


At least two Minnesota figures are open-minded about the controversial new California law that has college athletics stirring.

The law allows student athletes to make money off their name, likeness, and image, including shoe deals and endorsements. It is not pay-for-play. Some proponents argue it would also benefit female athletes, rather than negatively affect them.

Gopher men's basketball head coach Richard Pitino, speaking at Big Ten media day in Chicago Wednesday, says he supports it.

"I think it's progress," he said. "I think in the last couple years we're headed in the right direction of taking care of our student athletes. I don't know exactly what it's going to be but I think it's a good idea and I know a lot of people have been pushing for it. I think the biggest thing now is just getting everybody on the same page. Getting all the states, getting the NCAA, getting everybody working together is the most important thing. The more that we can get these guys, these student athletes, I'm all for it."

Gov. Tim Walz told media this week he's "willing to look at" a similar proposal, but doesn't see it being at the "forefront" any time soon.

A number of coaches and administrators nationwide -- not to mention the NCAA -- have decried the law. U of M Athletic Director Mark Coyle said in a statement about the law: "We are aware of the bill that was signed in California. We are a legacy member of the Big Ten and will work closely with Commissioner Delany, Commissioner Warren and the conference on this matter moving forward."

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