1870 Mag

Four Alternate Universes for the NCAA vs. California

PHOTO BY DAVID HEASLEY

Earlier this month, California governor, Gavin Newsome, signed the Fair Pay To Play Act, which allows collegiate athletes to profit off of endorsements. The bill passed 72-0 in the state of California, and while some former athletes are fans, figures and organizations like Ohio State’s Athletic Director Gene Smith and the NCAA have opposed. People have opinions, but this type of bill is already moving fast as it’s being introduced into several states including Kentucky and South Carolina. At the very end of October, the NCAA announced its decision to allow athletes to get paid for use of their names. But it got us thinking… What would the world look like under all the other possibilities? So we wrote them out for you. Enjoy daydreaming.

Universe 1

THE NCAA CHANGES ITS RULE TO GIVE EQUAL RECRUITMENT FOOTING TO ALL SCHOOLS

It’s September 23, 2023. Ohio State is in South Bend, Indiana, playing Notre Dame. (Yes, this is already scheduled.) During a commercial break, a Buyer’s Auto commercial with Ohio State’s quarterback, [insert formerly underappreciated transfer here], comes on. It is followed by a commercial of that same quarterback debuting in EA Sports NCAA 24.

It’s tough to say just how much of the game has been affected by this law. The warning the NCAA made was right; this law made the level of competition staggered towards bigger schools’ athletic programs. So our friends from Athens and Bowling Green haven’t really been in the college football talk these days. Not to say that teams outside of the power five conferences don’t get into the playoffs, I mean UCF is (should’ve been) the 2017 National Champion. Nonetheless, the playoff committee seems to not want to give a chance to those that aren’t in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC or Pac-12.

On the other hand, athletes can afford rent!

UNIVERSE 2

CALIFORNIA IS THE ONLY STATE TO HAVE THIS LAW

USC is playing Stanford in the National Championship after the Pac-12 became the first conference to put three out of the four teams in the playoffs this year: USC, UCLA and Stanford. Sacramento State just missed the playoffs, but they are boasting one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. Every primetime game starts at 10 p.m. eastern time. Thanks to the new recruiting rules, these schools are able to offer financial compensation that other colleges simply cannot.

Congrats, Cali! Your athletes are getting paid and winning seasons— good for them. This makes for a pretty fire National Championship now that two schools have without a doubt, the best players in the country. What could the other schools even offer anyways? Unlimited meal plans and tutors? We ain’t come here to play school. Next.

With that being said, the NCAA still rules all-powerful, holding all six infinity stones in their armored glove. For all we know, it can be changed with the snap of a finger, and California could turn into dust.

UNIVERSE 3

CALIFORNIA GETS BANNED FROM THE NCAA

You’re just getting home from schooner night at Chumley’s with a piping hot bag of Taco Bell in hand when out of nowhere, Twitter is blowing up your phone with breaking news from ESPN. Through a drunken blurry daze, you see it: the NCAA used all of the infinity stones and banned California from college sports. Gene Smith warned so many years ago that Ohio State will not be scheduling any games with schools from California. In the long run, you decide it’s a good thing. Our men’s volleyball team won’t have to play Long Beach University anymore. You feel pretty sure California will come up with its own league or conference broken into NorCal vs. SoCal teams. The championship is played in Silicon Valley and the winners get to Freaky Friday Apple CEO Tim Cook, or are gifted the knowledge of the Google Search Engine.

UNIVERSE 4

WE KILL THE NCAA

A hole tore this universe in two, chaos in the streets occurs, and there are more burning cars and sofas than you can count, bringing on flashbacks from the 2014 national championship. “Student-athletes” are now just… “students.”

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Ethan Clewell

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