Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith on Tuesday said he is against the Fair Pay to Play Act, which was signed into law Monday and states that colleges in California cannot punish their athletes for collecting endorsement money.

“My concern with the California bill – which is all the way wide open with monetizing your name and your likeness – is it moves slightly towards pay-for-play,” Smith said, “and it’s very difficult for us –- the practitioners in this space – to figure out how do you regulate it. How do you ensure that the unscrupulous bad actors do not enter that space and ultimately create an unlevel playing field?

“One of our principles is try to create rules and regulations to try and achieve fair play.”

California’s new law will not go into effect until January 2023. The NCAA is exploring options to modernize its approach to dealing with the name, image and likeness (NIL) rights of college athletes before that date.

Smith is one of two administrators leading an NCAA working group that is examining options for NIL rights. The group, which includes athletic directors, university presidents, and conference commissioners from all levels of the NCAA, was assembled in May to examine those options and make recommendations about how to move forward.

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