AUBURN — Bruce Pearl believes the NCAA has done a lot of good for student-athletes.

That's one thing he said has gotten lost in translation amidst the debate over whether players should be able to benefit from their name, image and likeness, which was sparked when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law last week.

But the sixth-year Auburn head coach believes more can be done, too.

"I do agree that what they’ve got to do is they’ve got to take the system that they have and make it better," Pearl said Tuesday. "Find a way to have the athletes be able to benefit from their image and their likeness without changing the whole system. I think there’s a way to make it better. I think they’re on the right track, and I hope they’ll find a way to do that."

The good that the NCAA has done over the years is expanding scholarships so that they do more than pay for just tuition, room, board, books and fees. Paying for just those things is "not realistic" in Pearl's view — "There is a true cost of attendance," he said. "There’s a lot of cost involved in going to college that isn’t just in tuition, room, board, books and fees. And these kids have certainly earned that kind of scholarship."

In the past decade, the NCAA has given athletes on scholarship "cost of attendance stipends," which Pearl said can be between $6,000 and $7,000 per year on top of what they already receive.

"We’re giving them a scholarship that allows them to not have to work, because this is their work," Pearl said, pointing to his players practicing on the court behind him. "And they’ve earned it. They’ve absolutely earned it. And it’s for all student-athletes."

The Fair Pay to Play Act would go a step further than that. It would allow athletes playing at universities in the state of California to profit from their own name, image and likeness beginning in 2023, whether that be from appearing in advertisements, making sponsored social media posts, selling autographs or anything in between. Other states have since followed suit and proposed similar bills.

It would be similar to the Olympic model, where athletes are not paid directly by Team USA but are allowed to profit off the fame generated from their achievements in competition. College athletes are not able to do that because it violates the NCAA's rules regarding amateurism.

Some in the upper echelon of college athletics have pushed back against that idea. NCAA president Mark Emmert, in an interview with the Indianapolis Star, said, "This is just a new form of professionalism and a different way of converting students into employees."

The Pac-12 released a statement saying the bill “will likely reduce resources and opportunities for student-athletes in Olympic sports and have a negative disparate impact on female student-athletes," even though the bill does not require — and actually does not allow — schools to pay out more money to athletes than they already do.

Washington State football coach Mike Leach and Gonzaga men's basketball coach Mark Few both wondered why California's lawmakers are even involved in this issue in the first place.

"What I find totally disappointing and just disgusting, is that a governor is wasting his time grandstanding around in something that he really doesn’t understand when .00001 percent of his constituents are going to be impacted by this,” Few said in an interview with Stadium on Monday. “He should probably stay in his lane — like I tell my players — and figure out homelessness and I think he’s got a state that borders Mexico and get that mess figured out, and the budget and some things like that.”

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, on the other hand, spoke out in support of the bill on Tuesday, saying "While we have made significant progress in recent years, we have not always responded to the needs and rights of our players swiftly, and frankly, we're playing catch-up after years of stagnant rules."

Count Pearl among those in the latter camp.

"The university system and what we do is not broken," Pearl said. "We just have to continue to make it better. I think we’re on that path."

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