Gurley legislation for whiners?

As someone who doesn’t keep up with football, who doesn’t like grandstanding, and who believes in a very limited government, you can imagine my despair for the pre-filed HB 3 by Representative Barry Fleming (R-121), “Education; programs; person solicit transaction with student-athlete; provide sanctions”

Aside from the riveting title, the bill is just bad news. HB 3…

Todd Gurley

The bill summary says: “To amend Part 14 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (which you can find here), relating to other educational programs, so as to provide sanctions for persons that enter into or solicit a transaction with a student-athlete that would result in sanctions to the student-athlete; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

Though I went to UGA for graduate school, I don’t have a “team” or a vested interest in this argument. If you do, I hope you can set them aside in considering what this legislation is actually doing. Let’s consider the following:

  1. Whether you believe student athletes should be able to collect salaries, funds, fees or kickbacks is not relevant here. The legislation strictly pertains to would-be ‘offenders’ who solicit student athletes. The rest isn’t under consideration.
  2. The bill calls for sanctions on the person who attempts to or enters into a contract/transaction with a student athlete for a purpose that would likely (love the wording) suspend eligibility for performance, participation, or scholarships. Sure, the student athlete would still risk school and NCAA punishment, but we are talking about the legal system. Laws are supposed to be equitable and just. Essentially, the legislation would make one party of the contract more culpable than the other even though both parties are freely and voluntarily engaging in this behavior. We don’t need to enact legislation to tip the justice scales when we have consenting adults. Organizational sanctions are sufficient if this behavior is to be discouraged.
  3. The legislation effectively makes entering a contract punishable under the law (and with a $25,000 sanction and a felony on your record, no less). Something that is otherwise legal with any other human over the age of 18 in Georgia. I have looked for precedent and justification or even something remotely similar under Georgia law, but I haven’t been able to find anything. There is a lack of “legal need” for this bill. This won’t make us safer and it isn’t protecting anyone…if that’s your logic behind government as a whole.
  4. Government is reactive. Sometimes too reactive. It seems as though we try to win hearts and then influence people because the premise of a bill may not be good. If this wasn’t Georgia and our state wasn’t swarming with UGA fans, this probably wouldn’t have come about. If it weren’t for the outrage over the season’s ups and downs with Todd Gurley, we may not be having this conversation.

A lot of times we hear people telling us to take the person out of the politics and they’re referencing the sponsor of legislation, but I’m not exactly a fan of the heart strings bills that use poster children to disguise expanded government. Pre-filed bills are often shells, too, which will be amended later, but this one is bad in premise and I hope our legislators – and football fans -are able to see that.

13 comments

  1. Raleigh says:

    Amen.

    I should be shocked but I have come to expect ridiculous bills such as this from state legislators. This bill illustrates what’s wrong with state government proves the words lower taxes and smaller government are hollow meaningless words under the gold dome.

    Representative Fleming should pull this bill and apologize to the people of Georgia for this travesty. God help the people of his district if this is all they have to represent them in the state house.

  2. blakeage80 says:

    In a year where ‘we’ lost to Tech, ‘we’ must do everything to help ensure the future success of ‘our’ football program. Freedom be darned! This post is inexcusable and I hope the Charlie does the responsible thing and has it removed! If former Rep. Lindsay and his father could cheer for the Russians over Tech, then surely you can see the merits of setting up a system that punishes those that seek to put ‘our’ athletes in a bad situation with the NCAA! (because who ever wanted a Tech guy’s autograph?) JS, you have destroyed all your street cred within the Red & Black community. Repent.
    (I can’t find a good ‘tongue in cheek’ emoticon, sorry)

  3. ryanhawk says:

    Fleming is just protecting the slave trade. You might be able to get away with providing a little education these days, but by gosh you better not offer to pay them for their labor.

    • saltycracker says:

      Hmmm-we could end athletic scholarships, stick to education for degrees and let the alumni do the bidding for the team’s….If they can get accepted and stay in….

      Or maybe the NCAA can lighten up a bit on the not so super stars…

      Whatever, This is not a legislative issue.

  4. Will Durant says:

    Yet another twist on “Red Meat” legislation. Perhaps they could throw in some punishment for those alumni types who simply slip the kids a few bucks every now and again without even getting an autograph. The legislature only meets for 40 days and should have more important things to do. Like addressing the issue of reductions in the state’s contribution to higher education while a Board of Regents keeps building and spending more. Instead of touting the partial salvation of the Hope Scholarship, how about addressing the reasons it had to be partially saved in the first place.

  5. John Konop says:

    ……3.The legislation effectively makes entering a contract punishable under the law (and with a $25,000 sanction and a felony on your record, no less)…..

    The idea is to fill up the prisons with people who violate a NCCA rule? HUH? Now we have a War on NCAA violators…..This may be the dumbest idea I have ever seen! Do you want to give out felonies for people who violate country club rules, neighborhood rules…….? Barry this is a civil issue not criminal, did you not learn that in school? As a fiscal conservative, why would any rational person want the government in this business? The result will be people who cannot get jobs via the felony, court/incarceration cost put on tax payers, more welfare via bread winner in prison…..What are you thinking Barry?

    • Raleigh says:

      Good God John,

      If we don’t fill up the prisons just where will UGA do their recruiting?

      Quote, “I sort of always liked playing UGA that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”
      Steve Spurrier

  6. Three Jack says:

    If this situation requires legislative reaction how about a bill that allows an individual to profit from their success without fear of retribution from a large profit making organization like the NCAA.

  7. Lawton Sack says:

    Though I have a problem with the entire bill, I particularly have a problem with the definition of a student athlete in the bill:

    ‘Student-athlete’ means a student at any public or private institution of postsecondary education in this state who engages in, is eligible to engage in, or may be eligible to engage in any intercollegiate sporting event, contest, exhibition, or program.

    There are a LOT of students that are eligible that will never play athletics, but they are still eligible. That leaves a lot of grey area.

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