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NCAA threatens to bar California schools like USC football from championships

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 04: President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Mark Emmert speaks to the media ahead of the Men's Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 04, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 04: President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Mark Emmert speaks to the media ahead of the Men's Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 04, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images) /
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The NCAA is talking a big talk when it comes to banning California schools like USC football from competition because of the state’s image and likeness bill.

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How threatened is the NCAA by new legislation which passed the California State Assembly recently, allowing student athletes to profit off their image and likeness?

They’re throwing out a pretty wild threat: Barring schools in the state, like USC, UCLA, Stanford and Cal, from participating in NCAA championships.

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“When contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships,” NCAA president Mark Emmert wrote in a letter to the assembly, as reported by Steve Berkowitz of USA Today. “As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it intends to assist.”

As pointed out by Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com on Twitter, that would mean banning the three schools with the most overall NCAA titles across all sports.

Indeed, Stanford leads all universities in national titles. But the threat also would make major waves in the “revenue sports.”

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UCLA’s 11 national championships in basketball are the most in history.

USC’s 11 national championships in football are tied for fourth all-time.

The two California rivals are absolute blue bloods in football and basketball. The idea of barring them from competition because of something the state legislature passed is ludicrous. It comes off as an empty threat.

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The question is whether legislators back down for fear of the NCAA actually following through.

The article from USA Today references representatives who are arguing against the legislation for exactly that reason, but others see it from another perspective, one that casts California as the state which could force the NCAA’s hand.

It’s going to be an interesting battle, but one that is extremely unlikely to result in USC being unable to play for national titles in the future.

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