Gonzaga men’s basketball head coach Mark Few is the latest to weigh in on California’s recently passed Fair Pay to Play Act, after criticizing California Gov. Gavin Newsom in an interview with Stadium, a multiplatform sports network.
Although Few indicated he was supportive of student-athletes potentially profiting from their name, image and likeness, he called out California’s legislative approach, comparing an issue he described as “incredibly complex” to “health care in America.”
“First of all, I would love to figure out a way, and I think we got a great group of people working on that,” Few told Stadium’s Jeff Goodman in an interview posted on Twitter Monday. “What I find totally disappointing and disgusting is that a governor is wasting his time grandstanding around in something that he doesn’t really understand when .00001% of his constituents are going to be impacted by this.”
The act, which allows collegiate athletes in California to profit off of their own name, image and likeness while still maintaining eligibility, was signed into law Sept. 30.
“He should probably stay in his lane — like I tell my players — and figure out homelessness,” Few said. “I think he’s got a state that borders Mexico and [should] get that mess figured out.”
Set to take effect in 2023, the act has been met with a variety of responses, both receptive and critical, of its aims. The NCAA and its president Mark Emmert have actively spoken out against the bill even before its passing.
Locally, Washington State University head football coach Mike Leach similarly questioned California’s choices a few weeks ago.
“The state of California has trouble keeping their streets clean right now, so my thought is that they probably ought to focus on that,” Leach told The Spokesman-Review.
Despite his criticisms, Few made it clear that he supports the legislation’s intent, referring to past GU players Adam Morrison and Rui Hachimura, who could’ve capitalized on a similar opportunity during their careers had they been allowed the chance.
“If there was a way we could monetize likeness and regulate it in a way that keeps a fair playing field for everybody, I’m all for it,” he said. “I would’ve been all for it, I am all for it. I’m not all for grandstanding politicians coming in and media members pulling low-hanging fruit off.”
Few reiterated those sentiments following Saturday’s Kraziness in the Kennel, expressing frustration with California’s seeming lack of willingness to wait for the NCAA to enact its own change.
“We were already on it, so that doesn’t seem to be being written about much,” Few told media following the event. “We already had a committee that was working on it and it’s some really good people and some smart people. I think they’re gonna announce some things in a little bit. It’s the world we live in, everybody just lashes out early and everybody reacts.”