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Mark Few, Gonzaga Bulldogs, college basketball

Editorials

Gonzaga Bulldogs coach Mark Few takes a long, problematic walk when talking about student-athlete rights

Gonzaga Bulldogs coach Mark Few chose the perfect time to get honest about his feelings on student-athlete rights and whether or not his players should get paid.

In a widely misunderstood bill that was recently passed by the state of California, SB206 has resulted in polarizing conversations. While there’s actual restrictions in the bill protecting schools, not to mention it costing universities literally zero dollars, naysayers are screaming about the wrongs it brings to the world of fictional ideals and belief systems.

Mark Few is no different. Please watch the entire clip because we’re not going to recap it:

It’s 2019 and Few would like his Gonzaga Bulldogs players to “stay in their lane.” He also believes it is “disgusting” for the California governor — who, by the way, is not the governor where Few lives or works — to insert himself in a mess made by the NCAA.

Also, you know, Few apparently has a ton of thoughts on what’s wrong with California.

The clip itself is actually not new. It’s remaking the rounds. Few’s comments originally happened when SB206 was signed. Nonetheless, we are here and it’s going to be a thing.

Few’s issue with the California governor being involved has a few glaring holes. Him claiming it should be handled by the NCAA is slightly misleading, if not a straight up falsehood, because they had their chance. Not only did Gavin Newsom attempt to keep in contact with the NCAA before signing SB206, hoping to get input from Marky Mark Emmert and the Governing Body Funky Bunch, but he was led stray.

“They talked about how they wanted to voluntarily engage us,” Newsom recently said in regards to interactions with NCAA president Mark Emmert. “Well, they slow-rolled us. And, with respect, they consistently play around the edges of reform. Now, they can’t do that. I think, ultimately, this is going to force their hand. I think invariably, they’re going to have (to) make some significant concessions to the status quo … and while the threat of litigation may overhang, I think reforms are going to be forthcoming despite how stubborn the next year or two may be.”

It goes beyond that. The long, insanely problematic walk Few took actually ended up at a destination where he (at least it seems) agrees players should receive some level of pay. It’s just odd, and suit-sniffing, he believes the people who are looking into it on behalf of the NCAA are the right folk to do it.

This would be like believing the best person to consult about your rat infestation problem is the rats infesting your house.

The NCAA wasn’t pressed for time. NIL conversations are not new. The “video game” lawsuit is a decade in the making. The governing body had plenty of time to figure out the logistics and implement something well before a single state or politician got involved.

And now, the people who are doing it on behalf of the NCAA, such as Gene Smith, have publicly declared student-athletes being given the right to sell their NIL a doomsday situation for amateurism. They already made up their minds and only began to act while legislatures will legislating their way onto the NCAA’s doorstep.

Here’s Smith asked, before SB206 was signed, if he would “walk away” from California schools if players in the state were able to profit off their name, image and likeness.

“I’m a single vote in that,” Smith said, via USA Today. “My guess is our membership would say yes because one of our principles is fair play, and even in the working group that I’m on, we’re focused on trying to make sure we deal with this in a fair-play way – as best as we can have a level playing field. We know it’s unlevel in a lot of ways, but this could make it unbelievably unlevel.

“So, my position would be, yes, and actually I would really be interested in how the Pac-12 (Conference) will handle those schools who are not in California that are members of the Pac-12. And how those schools will compete against those schools in California who have an unfair advantage because they’ll be able to offer student-athletes benefits that the other schools will not be able to offer. So, yeah, my position would be we walk.”

The working group’s “findings” on NIL benefits will be provided to the NCAA at the end of the month.

With everything currently happening with the NBA and China, as well as the NFL and MLB hitting their peak coverage strides, the Gonzaga Bulldogs coach is probably lucky his comments are making its rounds once again during a period of time people simply don’t have the head space for it.

Otherwise, while Few is apparently concerned about the California Governor’s constituents, he might have a problem with some of his own. There’s only so many times a white dude in a position of authority can tell his labor to stay in their lane, while yelling to another dude in power about how he’s not using his correctly by getting involved in what can be considered a civil, labor and/or human rights issue.

Remember this, kids. Simply because someone is a good sportsball coach it doesn’t mean we should inherently believe their values and ideals are worthy of anything other than our mockery. Mark Few can believe in whatever he wants, but when it’s archaic and misleading, it’s OK to call bologna on it.

In fact, my bologna has a first name…