How will the Fair Pay To Play act change things in college basketball?

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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 206, the Fair Pay To Play act, into law earlier this week, and the result has been a tidal wave of political action, as legislators from around the country have made the move to try and curry favor with their base by taking similar steps.

Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington have had lawmakers take steps towards introducing similar bills. At the federal level, congressmen from Connecticut, North Carolina and Ohio have been working towards finding a way to overthrow the NCAA’s amateurism model, while presidential candidate Andrew Yang has used this as part of his campaign.

And it makes sense.

According to a poll conducted by Seton Hall, more than 60% of Americans support players being allowed access to their name, image and likeness rights while 80% of Americans under the age of 30 support it.

At this point, the question seems to be when, not if, the concept of amateurism in college athletics will be erased from our lives forever.

The question that I’ve gotten more than any other this week is what the real impact is going to be.

Dan Wetzel over at Yahoo Sports put together a list of nine things that are going to change, but that list is more big picture and focuses on the football side of things. There are three points that he does make – which we have discussed in this space before – that will have real and significant impact on college basketball.

1. IT WILL HELP KEEP PLAYERS IN SCHOOL

I’ve made this point over and over again in recent years. I wrote an entire column on it after the early entry deadline past on May 30th. There is a very real talent drain in college basketball. There were 87 players with eligibility remaining that left school to turn pro.

87!

This is the truth: If you are a player that is projected as a top 100 prospect in the sport, someone that is going to have some kind of significant professional basketball career, it makes financial sense for you to leave school as early as possible. First round picks get guaranteed contracts. According to a study I did last summer, if you are a player that is picked in the first 20 picks of the second round, odds are very, very good that you are going to get yourself a guaranteed deal with an NBA team. Players that are drafted at the end of the second round often end up on two-way deals or on G League rosters, where the salaries that NBA organizations can offer have been boosted. That doesn’t include the players that have their agents tell NBA teams they do not want to be drafted in the second round and would rather enter the professional realm as a free agent; that happens more than you think. Then there are the guys that opt to play overseas, where the top leagues can prove to be quite profitable, especially for players that are able to obtain citizenship in other countries.

That’s before we factor in the kids that never actually make it to college. Every year, we see more and more players opt to take a different path to the NBA, whether it is sitting out and training, going to Australia for a year or taking an extra season in prep school so they can head straight to the draft.

Let’s say the average professional basketball player keeps getting contracts until they are 30 years old – and that might be generous. If you are a 20 year old sophomore that is good enough to play professionally, than returning to school would mean that you are missing out on 10 percent of your earning potential by returning to school. Throw in the fact that most schools will guarantee the scholarships for these athletes if they turn pro and then come back in a decade, and you don’t have to be an Investment Banker to figure out what makes the most sense financially.

Opening up name, image and likeness rights is going to make a very, very small percentage of college basketball players rich.

But what it will do is convince some players to come back to school. Maybe Creighton’s Martin Krampelj comes back for his final season if he can make $30,000 in endorsements. Maybe Syracuse guard Tyus Battle plays his final season in Orange if Dinosaur BBQ can pay him to be the face of their line of dry rubs. Maybe Oregon doesn’t lose Kenny Wooten. Maybe West Virginia returns Sagaba Konate. LSU’s Tremont Waters. UCF’s Aubrey Dawkins. Iowa’s Tyler Cook. Minnesota’s Amir Coffey.

The list goes on and on.

2. THIS REALLY WILL HELP THE BEST MID-MAJORS

The best schools are still going to get the best players when these rules change.

Duke and Kentucky are going to continue to rake whichever elite players they target. Kansas will no longer be “a victim” of the help provided by Adidas. Nike is going to make sure that Oregon and North Carolina have rosters that keep them competitive.

Point being, the big dogs are still going to eat.

But in college basketball, where things can really be impacted will at the programs where basketball ranks first, second and third, and where there is big money to be spent. I think this will be really good for programs in the Big East. Wetzel, in his column, mentions Villanova and Georgetown, and that makes sense. There are a lot of alums with a lot of money that care about their basketball teams. I think it also helps programs like UConn, Marquette and, particularly, Creighton. The Bluejays sell out an NBA-sized arena in a town that doesn’t really have all that much else to do.

Wichita State would be another example. I can’t imagine what Memphis will be like if FedEx is allowed to officially team up with Penny and Mike Miller on the recruiting trail. VCU has a huge and passionate fan base. So does Dayton. St. Bonaventure’s fans are as crazy as anyone. Nevada. BYU. UNLV.

It works at a smaller level as well. Murray State, for example, plays in a league that’s off the map but has a big enough fan base to be able to entice some bigger recruits to town if the price is right. Vermont already recruits above their level. Hell, this would probably be really good for places in the Ivy League – Harvard, Yale, Penn, Princeton.

They’re not going to start getting every player, but it could be what allows them in the door with a player at a level above what they’re recruiting now.

3. TRANSFERS WILL GET REALLY MESSY

Losing their best players to bigger schools is already a major problem for mid-major programs, and that’s before it’s legal to get paid. If you’re a power conference school and you lose your starting backcourt to the NBA draft a year earlier than expected, why wouldn’t you go out and offer too much of your boosters’ money to the kid at UNC Asheville that averaged 16 and six assists as a junior?

Every professional sport on the planet sees teams waste money when signing players in a panic. College sports would be no different.

Tulane secures 101-94 OT win over Cincinnati

Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW ORLEANS – Kevin Cross and Jalen Cook scored 27 points each as Tulane took down Cincinnati 101-94 in overtime on Tuesday night.

Cross added 15 rebounds and six assists for the Green Wave (16-7, 9-3 American Athletic Conference). Cook added 14 assists. Jaylen Forbes scored 24 points and shot 6 for 15 (3 for 6 from 3-point range) and 9 of 9 from the free throw line.

Landers Nolley II finished with 26 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Bearcats (16-9, 7-5). Ody Oguama added 16 points and 13 rebounds for Cincinnati. In addition, David Dejulius finished with 12 points, eight assists and three steals.

Tulane entered halftime down 37-28. Cross paced the team in scoring in the first half with 10 points. Forbes scored 18 second-half points and hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 1:02 remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.

Tulane scored seven unanswered points to break a tie and lead with 42 seconds left in overtime.

No. 16 Oklahoma women take 1st lead in OT, rally past Baylor

Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman
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WACO, Texas – Ana Llanusa and Skylar Vann each scored 20 points and No. 16 Oklahoma took its first lead of the game in overtime before rallying past Baylor 98-92 on Tuesday night.

The Sooners trailed for 39 minutes in regulation and were down 75-63 with 5:19 left in regulation.

Baylor turned it over twice on inbounds plays in the closing seconds of regulation and Taylor Robertson tied at 83-all on a wide-open 3-pointer with 14 seconds left.

Llanusa started overtime with a 3-pointer, and she finished with eight points during the extra session. Baylor never led in overtime, shooting 2 of 6.

Robertson, who tied Danielle Robinson’s program record of 140 starts, finished with 14 points and three 3s for Oklahoma (19-4, 9-3 Big 12), which trails Texas (18-6, 9-2) in the hunt for its first conference title since 2009. Nevaeh Tot added 13 points, Liz Scott added 11 points and eight rebounds and Madi Williams had nine points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

The Sooners, the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense at 86.5 points per game, have scored at least 88 points 14 times this season, seven in conference.

Caitlin Bickle scored a career-high 30 points with four 3s and Sarah Andrews added 20 points for Baylor (16-7, 7-4). Freshman Darianna Littlepage-Buggs had 14 points and 17 rebounds and Ja’Mee Asberry scored 11. Jaden Owens had 14 of Baylor’s 25 assists on 32 field goals.

Bickle was 8 of 11 from the field, including 4 of 7 from distance, and Littlepage-Buggs recorded her sixth double-double in the last seven games.

It was the first time in 20 years the Sooners were ranked in game against an unranked Bears squad. Oklahoma continues its road trip at Kansas State on Sunday. Baylor plays at Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Newton has triple-double, No. 21 UConn tops No. 10 Marquette

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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HARTFORD, Conn. – UConn appears to have its mojo back.

Jordan Hawkins scored 20 points and Tristen Newton recorded his second triple-double of the season as No. 21 Connecticut ran away from No. 10 Marquette 87-72 on Tuesday night.

Newton had 12 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for the Huskies (19-6, 8-6 Big East), who won their third straight game after losing six of eight. They started the season 14-0, rising to No. 2 in the AP Top 25.

“Teams go through tough stretches during the course of the season,” coach Dan Hurley said. “The bottom line is we’re 19-6. You know, we beat some of the best teams in the country.”

Adama Sanogo added 18 points, while Alex Karaban and Nahiem Alleyne each chipped in with 13 for Connecticut, which never trailed.

Tyler Kolek had 17 points to lead Marquette (19-6, 11-3), which had its five-game winning streak snapped. Ben Gold and Stevie Mitchell each scored 12.

The Huskies outrebounded Marquette 48-24 and used 21 offensive boards to help them get 27 second-chance points. The Huskies also had 20 assists on 31 baskets, while holding Marquette to just seven assists.

UConn opened the game on a 22-6 run, highlighted by a fast-break lob from Newton to Andre Jackson for a dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. The Huskies made their first four 3-point shots, three by Hawkins, who had 14 points in the first half.

A hook shot by Sanogo gave UConn its first 20-point lead at 32-12 .

A late first-half run by Marquette cut the margin to 43-29, but Alleyne hit a 3-pointer from almost half court to send UConn into the break with a 17-point cushion.

Another 3-pointer from Alleyne gave the Huskies a 59-38 lead in the second half.

UConn led by 25 before Marquette went on an 8-0 run to pull within 17. But the Golden Eagles never threatened to get back in the game.

“We won two or three games in January,” Hawkins said. “It was definitely a tough stretch, definitely going to shake your confidence. But you just have to stay the course, trust the process and that’s what we did and that’s what we’re going to continue to do during this last stretch.”

BIG PICTURE

Marquette: The Golden Eagles had won nine of 10. They are trying to win a regular-season conference title after being picked ninth in the preseason poll by the league’s coaches.

UConn: Entered 1-5 against the top five teams in the Big East and 1-3 versus ranked opponents. UConn lost 82-76 at Marquette on Jan. 11 after leading by 11 points in the first half.

“The rankings mean nothing,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. “It’s amazing the disparity – no disrespect to anyone here – between what the ranking means to media and fans in the middle of a season and what it means to players and coaches. It just doesn’t mean anything.”

BACK FROM INJURY

Marquette’s Sean Jones, who missed the previous three games with a wrist injury, had 11 points in just over 19 minutes. He came down hard on the wrist in the second half, but appeared to shake it off and continued playing.

REPEAT PERFORMANCE

Newton’s first triple-double came in November against Buffalo, when he had 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He joined Shabazz Napier as the only Huskies players to get more than one.

“My amigos right here, they were going crazy hitting shots,” Newton said. “They were boxing out and I was getting the rebound, so I just had the easy job, just get them the ball.”

UP NEXT

Marquette: At last-place Georgetown on Saturday.

UConn: Will visit No. 23 Creighton on Saturday.

Jackson-Davis leads No. 18 Indiana past No. 24 Rutgers 66-60

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The milestone moments keep piling up for Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Only one really mattered Tuesday night.

While he scored 20 points to become the sixth player in Hoosiers’ history with 2,000 and the first among that group with 1,000 career rebounds, the most satisfying celebration came after No. 18 Indiana beat No. 24 Rutgers 66-60 – Jackson-Davis’ first win in the series.

“I think that’s the last team in the Big Ten I hadn’t beaten,” Jackson-Davis said after finishing with 18 rebounds and six assists.

From the moment Jackson-Davis announced he would attend Indiana, the expectations were great even as critics contended the results were underwhelming.

Nobody’s complaining now. Jackson-Davis now has 2,004 points, 1,035 rebounds, a school-record 242 blocks and ranks fourth all-time with 44 double-doubles after breaking a tie with Steve Downing.

After helping the Hoosiers snap a five-year NCAA Tournament drought last season and falling out of the rankings after three straight January losses, Jackson-Davis has almost single-handedly led the Hoosiers (17-7, 8-5 Big Ten) into a second-place tie by winning seven of eight.

And his dominance is starting to open things up for his teammate. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

“I think we’ve gotten a lot better playing around Trayce, giving him space,” Miller Kopp said after scoring 18 points. “It comes down to getting better at what the coaches are asking us to do and we’re all feeling more comfortable with where our looks are coming from.”

It certainly showed against the Scarlet Knights (16-8, 8-5), who had won six straight over Indiana including a 15-point blowout in December.

This time, though, they spent most of the game playing catchup. Clifford Omoruyi had 15 points, Cam Spencer had 14 and nobody else made more than three baskets.

“It’s a one-possession game with three minutes left, but I look at the (free throw) disparity and you can’t defend the foul line,” coach Steve Pikiell said. “Give Indiana credit, they got there. Tracye Jackson-Davis was a problem.”

The Hoosiers started fast and then scored 12 straight points to take a 30-14 lead midway through the first half but even without injured starting forward Mawot Mag, Rutgers charged back. It closed the first half on an 11-2 run, then tied it at 38 when Spencer opened the second half with a 3-pointer.

Kopp broke the tie with his third 3 of the game to start an 11-0 run and Jackson-Davis’ monumental basket, a putback dunk off his own miss, made it 54-44 with 11:13 to go.

The Scarlet Knights could have tied it on Caleb McConnell’s 3 with 3:02 left, but it bounced off the back of the rim and the Hoosiers closed Jackson-Davis’ big win with a 7-2 spurt.

“He’s a man who’s done a lot since he’s been here,” said coach Mike Woodson, who is 57 points ahead of Jackson-Davis on the Hoosiers’ scoring list. “He’s a phenomenal player who does a lot of beautiful things on the court. To get 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds says a lot.”

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: Mag missed his first game with a torn ACL in his right knee and Rutgers struggled against Indiana’s size and speed. There could be similar challenges over the final eight regular-season games.

Indiana: Woodson’s team is playing, at times, like the conference’s preseason pick to win the league title. When the Hoosiers make perimeter shots and defend well, they’re a difficult matchup for anyone. They just need fewer lulls.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The victory should help solidify Indiana’s top-20 status – at least until it hits the road for their next two games. Losing Mag and Tuesday’s game may make Rutgers’ return to the rankings short-lived regardless of what happens later this week.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: Visits Illinois on Saturday

Indiana: Heads to Michigan on Saturday.

Pitt moves into 1st-place ACC tie destroying Louisville

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH – Nike Sibande scored 15 points off the bench, nine Pittsburgh players entered the scoring column and the Panthers demolished Louisville 91-57 on Tuesday night and moved into a first-place tie with Clemson in the ACC.

Entering play Tuesday, the top five teams in the ACC were separated by just a game in the standings. A win by No. 8 Virginia against No. 22 North Carolina State Tuesday would create a three-way tie for first between Clemson, Pitt and the Cavaliers.

Against Louisville, the Panthers (17-7, 10-3) distributed 23 assists on 28-made baskets. Defensively, Pitt held Louisville (3-21, 1-12) to 27.6% (16 for 58) shooting and outrebounded the Cardinals 37-30. Mike James scored 11 points for Louisville.

El Ellis made a pair of foul shots to bring Louisville into a 14-all tie with 13:36 before halftime. Pitt then went on a 16-2 run over nearly the next five minutes. Six-different Panthers scored during the run. Nate Santos’ 3-pointer with 9:38 before the break made it 27-16 and Pitt led by double digits the rest of the way. A 47-27 halftime lead turned into a 58-28 margin just 1:59 into the second half.

With the win, the Panthers reached double digits in conference wins for just the second time in 10 ACC seasons. Pitt went 11-7 in its first year in the ACC following its 12-6 campaign in its final year in the Big East in 2012-13.

Louisville will continue its road trip when it takes on No. 19 Miami on Saturday. Pitt travels to face Florida State on Saturday.