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College athletes in America may be allowed to profit from their...

TUNE IN TO a college football match in America, and you might think that you were watching a professional rather than an amateur sport. The biggest stadiums routinely fill over 100,000 seats. Corporate sponsorships are common. Television broadcasts are supersaturated with ads for expensive pick-up trucks and beers. All told, America’s college athletic departments brought in a combined $18.1bn of revenue in 2017, up from $9.8bn in 2007. Despite the popularity of their output, college athletes receive no remuneration. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA), which governs college sports, has long forbidden its players to receive any compensation. These ordinances have always been controversial. But after years of legal challenges and intense public scrutiny, the NCAA’s clampdown on paying jocks is at last starting to crack. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor's Picks. On September 10th California passed a bill which would allow athletes at colleges in the state with lucrative sports programmes to hire agents and earn money on the side through sponsorship deals or autograph sales. The bill still needs to be signed by the governor, and would not come into effect until 2023. Similar legislation is being considered in other states and at the federal level. Some lawmakers would like to go one step further. Senator Bernie Sanders, a presidential candidate, put it plainly when he tweeted: “College athletes are workers. Pay them.” Yet treating athletes as employees could create complications. Title IX, a federal law, prevents colleges from discriminating between students by sex. Would this mean that colleges would have to pay their female basketball players as much as males, for example, even if the men bring in more revenue? Richard Borghesi, an economist at the University of South Florida-Sarasota, has written a pair of papers looking at how much top athletes would make if they were paid according to their ability to generate revenue for their colleges. In addition to ticket and merchandise sales, college athletes also play a role in soliciting donations from rich alumni. Taking these factors into account, Mr Borghesi estimates that the top 10% of football and 16% of basketball players would be paid around $400,000 and $250,000 a year respectively. The NCAA opposes California’s efforts. The association notes that college athletes already receive compensation in the form of scholarships, and argues that any further remuneration would jeopardise the integrity of what is meant to be an amateur endeavour. The NCAA has also threatened to ban Californian colleges from competing in national championships. Although the NCAA’s objections may have been valid at some point, they make little sense today. The two most lucrative college sports, American football and basketball, are highly competitive. Many universities are willing to bend over backwards to enroll talented players. And the argument that university athletics remains amateur would hardly earn passing marks in even an introductory college course. ■

Officers who killed Stephon Clark receive permission to return to duty

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 26: Sequita Thompson, (C) grandmother of Stephon Clark who was shot and killed by Sacramento police, cries during a news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump on March 26, 2018 in Sacramento, California. The family of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by Sacramento police officers, have hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent the Clark family in a wrongful death suit against the Sacramento police department. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)In a disappointing but not surprising turn of events, the two Sacramento officers who fatally shot Stephon Clark will not face federal charges and are now free to return to duty.In a statement released Thursday, the Sacramento Police Department outlined how it had conducted what it believed to be a thorough investigation of the officer-involved shooting of an unarmed Black man that took place on March 18, 2018, and concluded that the use of deadly force in the case was lawful.READ MORE: Stephon Clark’s children awarded multi-million dollar settlement from City of SacramentoBack in March, after a nearly year-long investigation, the California attorney general’s office also declined to issue state criminal charges. At the time, Attorney General Xavier Becerra said there was significant evidence to corroborate that the officers had reason to believe their lives were in danger when Clark began advancing toward them holding what they thought to be a gun. But despite this belief, investigators only found a cellphone.“Although no policy violations occurred in this incident or in the events leading up to it, we are committed to implementing strategies that may prevent similar tragedies in the future,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said in a statement. “Our internal investigation concluded that there were no violations of department policy or training. The officers involved in this case will return to full, active duty.”That same day of this announced, the FBI also came to a similar decision, saying it didn’t find enough evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against the officers.READ MORE: Prosecution rests in Amber Guyger murder trial while defense team now prepares to get the former Dallas officer offREAD MORE: California governor signs ‘Stephon Clark’s Law’ changing use of deadly force by police rules for policeIn January, Clark’s family – specifically his parents, grandparents and children – filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Sacramento, seeking damages in excess of $20 million.The suit also names Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, the two officers who gunned Clark down in his grandparents’ backyard back.“Both Officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet did not give [Clark] a verbal warning that deadly force would be used prior to shooting [Clark] multiple times, despite it being feasible to do so and they did not issue appropriate commands to [Clark)],” reads the 31-page suit filed by attorneys Dale Galipo, Brian Panish and Ben Crump.Thursday, Clark’s brother, Stevante Clark, posted on Facebook that he was in a meeting with federal and local authorities, stating, “These people have failed when it comes to (accountability).”

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