WSU basketball

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Washington State big man Jeff Pollard is popular all over Pullman and easily recognized back home in Bountiful, Utah.

You can’t miss him: He’s 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds. Pollard realizes he could probably earn some money from his image and likeness — a hot topic at Pac-12 media day because of a new law that will allow student-athletes at California colleges to profit from use of their names starting in 2023.

Yet Pollard, someone first-year coach Kyle Smith jokes could be a mayoral candidate because he is so well-liked, is against college players being paid for signing autographs or taking part in community events.

“I think it’s a good medium ground in terms of the argument of whether guys should get paid or not, because in my opinion I don’t think athletes in college should outright get paid, but I think that’s kind of where college athletics has its draw is the fact that it’s not something you’re getting compensated for,” Pollard said Tuesday. “It is for the most part for the love of the game. Instead of playing for a paycheck you’re playing for a school or an institution.

“I think there is some value in that. But I think there’s fair arguments on both sides. There is a lot of money made by the student-athletes, so I think kind of finding that middle ground of name and image, likeness, I think that is a good middle ground to have where you kind of introduce that without taking away what makes college athletics so special.”

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott met with league coaches Tuesday morning and addressed the California law, which was signed last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom in the face of opposition from the NCAA. More states have since announced they will follow California’s lead. Scott also briefed players on the issue.

“There’s a great desire to figure it all out. The welfare of the student-athletes is always a high priority,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. “Having said that, this is not a two-quote kind of conversation. The ramifications, no matter what decisions are made, it’s going to be really interesting to how it plays out and I think every decision is going to have many ramifications that people don’t know about, good and bad.

“It’s a very complex issue, so I think it’s one thing to talk philosophically — what you believe or don’t believe — but then I think it’s more important to talk practically as you really implement it and make decisions, what does it lead to? Those are the kind of conversations really smart people need to get in a room and try and foresee the future the best you can to make the appropriate decisions.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.