Indianapolis Business Journal. March 18, 2022.
Editorial: Hoosiers for Good could be positive example for NIL athletes
Less than a year after the NCAA agreed to let student athletes profit off their name, image and likeness—by endorsing products, promoting brands on social media, charging for autographs, etc.—the benefits and pitfalls of the change are becoming obvious.
Across the country, student athletes have been able to sign with agents or school-endorsed agencies to earn money from their talents in ways that, previously, only their universities, conferences and the NCAA were able to do. We think that is generally a positive.
But, as expected, there are concerns as well—big ones.
Consider that The Athletic, a sports news website, has reported that a top recruit in the class of 2023 has signed an agreement with a school’s NIL collective that will be worth $8 million. The Athletic didn’t name the recruit or the school.
Or that an organization of University of Texas supporters has raised a $10 million fund to provide contracts to Longhorn players. In fact, the group already has launched a program called The Pancake Factory that will offer $50,000 contracts to members of the Texas offensive line to endorse charitable efforts.
Keep in mind that NCAA rules still prohibit schools—or outside companies or organizations—from paying students to attend a specific university or play a sport. Student athletes can be paid only for their work endorsing products or brands or for allowing their name or image to be used for endorsements.
And it’s not clear yet how the Indianapolis-based NCAA will react to some of these moves, which seem like clear violations of the spirit of NIL rules.
But some organizations—including one organized by Cook Group President Pete Yonkman—are taking a different tack.
Hoosiers for Good is raising money with the goal of paying Indiana University athletes to represent charitable organizations. But there’s no plan to offer blanket contracts to athletes in key positions on IU teams.
Instead, Hoosiers for Good wants to work with student athletes individually to identify their passions and then match them with causes or organizations they can authentically represent. And Yonkman seems at least as interested in what the arrangements could do for the organizations as he does with what they mean for student athletes or IU.
On the latest episode of the IBJ Podcast, Yonkman said not-for-profits do great work “without the limelight. They do it without the spotlight being shined on them. And they oftentimes are doing it on very, very small budgets. And what we’ve seen is that, when you add a little spotlight and you add some resources, folks can achieve even bigger things.”
He drew a distinction between the organizations and NIL deals that are being offered elsewhere. That’s just not “the Indiana way,” he said.
“A lot of schools are running around doing things that we would just not want to be anywhere near,” he said. “They’re on their face, kind of violating the rules.”
We don’t disagree. And we’re eager to see if Hoosiers for Good can set a different kind of example, one that helps students gain a better appreciation for community involvement and helps not-for-profits thrive.
South Bend Tribune. March 17, 2022.
Editorial: Governor Holcomb, listen to law enforcement and veto Indiana gun permit bill
We didn’t expect that Indiana’s legislative supermajority would listen to editorial boards across Indiana that have spoken out against the measure to eliminate the state’s handgun permit.
Clearly, legislators also weren’t listening to law enforcement authorities, the majority of whom oppose the legislation. That includes Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, who asked committee members to listen to those who understand “the magnitude and the front-line effects of this legislation.”
And now that legislators have passed House Bill 1296 — which would eliminate the license requirement for any Hoosier 18 and older who legally can carry a handgun — it’s up to Gov. Eric Holcomb to do the right thing for Hoosiers and for those who serve them.
Veto HB 1296.
The governor doesn’t have to listen to us. He can listen to those whose work will be negatively affected by the legislation, and whose efforts will be hampered by HB 1296.
South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said the permit requirement is “one of the greatest tools that we have in order to keep somebody who had a gun, and shouldn’t have, off the street, even if it’s just for a little while. Keeping this person safe, not dead, not injured, and our community, not dead, not injured.”
Ruszkowski was joined by St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter, South Bend Mayor James Mueller and Isaac Hunt of the Group Violence Intervention Project in speaking out against HB 1296 last week. Those who spoke defended the Second Amendment, but explained the need for licensing in protecting the public.
In a statement, William Redman, St. Joseph County sheriff, said removing the gun permit “takes away an additional level of safety for our officers to be able to identify those who have legally gone through the gun permit process versus those who haven’t.”
They, like police across the state, are looking to the governor to veto this bill. Holcomb had recently backed Carter, the head of the Indiana State Police appointed by Mike Pence and reappointed by Holcomb, after Carter rebuked Republican lawmakers for pushing the legislation.
“I stand behind Superintendent (Douglas) Carter 110%,” Holcomb told reporters earlier this month.
Now he has an opportunity to show real support for Carter, and for other members of law enforcement throughout the state.
He can actually listen to them. He can and should veto HB 1296.
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. March 18, 2022.
Editorial: Paper trail
State OKs cost-effective nod to election security
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb made Secretary of State Holli Sullivan’s only priority of the recently concluded legislative session a reality, signing into law House Enrolled Act 1116 despite opposition from Hoosier voting-rights organizations.
Members of the House voted 95-0 on March 7 to concur with Senate changes to House Bill 1116, a proposal for improving the state’s “election integrity.” It hit the governor’s desk Monday, and he added his signature that same day.
HEA 1116 mandates that Hoosier voters provide either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number when requesting an absentee ballot online. It also moves up the date by which counties must outfit all paperless voting machines with small printers.
About two-thirds of the state’s 92 counties employ touch-screen, paperless voting machines, according to the secretary of state’s office. That includes several of Indiana’s largest counties, such as Allen. The state began paying for counties to add printers to paperless voting machines in 2019, but had allowed them to stay in use through 2029.
HEA 1116 moves the 2029 deadline to July 1, 2024, though the Indiana League of Women Voters, Indiana Vote by Mail and other voting rights advocates say the state should stop the use of all electronic voting machines and order all counties to use paper ballots that voters mark before they are scanned for counting, the Associated Press reported.
During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Feb. 24, Barbara Tully of Indiana Vote by Mail testified in opposition to the “voter verified paper audit trail.” She said the printers’ thermal paper can smudge easily and is difficult to use in an election audit.
“Let’s just go back to the basics, and go to hand-marked paper ballots,” Tully said. “It makes the most sense. It’s the cheapest thing to do and it’s the thing that’s going to make our elections in Indiana trusted by voters and restore confidence.”
Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Milford, even called for a return to paper ballots from the House floor. He offered an amendment to scrap the use of electronic voting machines for two years, and use paper ballots statewide while election officials determine the most secure way for Hoosiers to vote. His amendment was defeated.
It’s still unclear how much it will cost to add printers to thousands of electronic voting machines across the state. A legislative staff analysis earlier in the session estimated the price tag at about $13 million. House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, however, called adding the printers “an important public policy” and HEA 1116 states the voting machine attachments will be paid for with federal or state funds.
Indiana is one of just a handful of states with widespread use of paperless voting machines, according to the nonprofit Verified Voting, which also objected to the state’s thermal printer proposal.
And election security experts have advocated for the adoption of paper-based voting systems nationwide for years, saying they are less vulnerable to manipulation and election workers can use those records to audit results.
In close races in which the victor wins by a margin of less than 1% of the total vote, an audit is essential. A paper trail of counted ballots would provide election workers needed backup to the electronic total.