Congress urged to act as states begin to allow outside criticism of student-athletes: NPR


Cameron Brink #22 of the Stanford Cardinal and Kate Reese #25 of the Arizona Wildcats fight for opening tip during the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 4 in San Antonio, Texas. Cardinal Stanford defeated the Arizona Wildcats 54-53 to win the national title.

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Cameron Brink #22 of the Stanford Cardinal and Kate Reese #25 of the Arizona Wildcats fight for opening tip during the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 4 in San Antonio, Texas. Cardinal Stanford defeated the Arizona Wildcats 54-53 to win the national title.

Elsa / Getty Images

College sports are about to change dramatically and Congress needs to act quickly in order to ensure fairness.

That was the message on Wednesday on Capitol Hill, in Extended Senate Hearing About new state laws that will allow college athletes to make money using their name, photo, and example. The money will not be from the school of athletes.

On July 1, at least five state laws went into effect, allowing college athletes, among other things, to get paid for endorsements, personal appearances and content on social media. They will be able to hire agents.

wednesday also, Connecticut It became the latest state to pass NIL legislation, which is an acronym for Name, Image, and Example. Nearly 20 states have passed none laws.

After the nearly three-hour hearing on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, a session that notably missed the athlete and female witnesses, a consensus emerged among lawmakers and witnesses who attended — Congress needs to pass a national NIL law to avoid any possibility. Inequality with a country-by-state approach.

A major concern is the recruitment of college athletes. Do schools in states that have nil laws have an advantage over schools in states that don’t?

Yes, said Mark V., the Gonzaga men’s basketball coach, who lost in the NCAA Championship final to Baylor in April.

“We’re hiring nationally, even internationally,” Few said. “Not having the ability to compete in some kind of level playing field, with people who can give money gifts or endorsements or things like that, would put us at an irreparable disadvantage.”

Sportico’s chief sports legal correspondent, Michael McCann, told the committee he agreed that national law would be the most sensible approach to the NIL, as a way to ensure college athletes across the country benefit from financial opportunities.

A variety of athletes too.

“This is not just about the star quarterback,” McCann said, adding, “In Axios, eight out of 10 most followed [on social media] [NCAA Tournament] The Elite 8 basketball players this year were women. They can earn by influencing social media. Other athletes can sponsor camps back home. We sometimes think of NIL as big endorsement deals but they don’t have to be. The NIL won’t make a lot of athletes rich, but it could make college a lot more affordable.”

While McCann believes the national model makes perfect sense, he praised state laws for filling “the void left by the NCAA and Congress,” and passing NIL laws “in marked bipartisan ways.”

As for why there is a vacuum, NCAA President Mark Emmert took his increasingly common position, on the hot seat, in Wednesday’s session.

We had that argument [on compensating college athletes] New Mexico Senator Ben Ray Logan has said for more than a decade, “It’s common sense. Coaches were making millions of dollars in the process. [student athletes] They do nothing. Dr. Emmett, can you answer me? [why it’s taken so long]? “

“It’s obviously a very difficult topic,” Emmert said. “All of the NCAA rules are made by the schools themselves, by a representative body that functions just like Congress. They have been discussing and debating and working toward this moment for at least three years now. It is a very complex topic. Coming to a general consensus on what should be That the result was relatively easy—getting people to agree on the details of it is extraordinarily complex. But I very much hope we finally have the schools in place now that they are ready to pass a national standard. But that won’t mitigate the need for federal legislation.”

According to McCann, the NCAA has not yet changed the rules that prohibit athletes from signing endorsement agreements, sponsorship agreements, or influencer arrangements. The NCAA Division 1 board meets later this month and can work on the NIL after that.

It remains unclear whether this measure, or federal legislation, will replace the growing number of state laws being passed on the NIL.

At least one lawmaker at the hearing was not buying Emmert’s explanation that the NCAA is constrained by its position and the complexity of the issue.

“Let’s be very realistic here,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a longtime NCAA critic and advocate for the rights of collegiate athletes, said the NCAA was on the table only because it was pulled from the kicks. and screaming here. After hesitating and delaying for a long time. They are only here because they are afraid of this patch هذا [of a state-by-state approach]. Valid states reach the top. The NCAA in its rules, nothing personal to Dr. Emmert, is racing to the bottom common denominator. We have to avoid that happening.”

Blumenthal, along with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who testified before the committee, was promoting an overarching principle University Athletes Bill of Rights And he used the hearing as a way to talk again about what he says are the myriad problems facing college athletes, beyond NIL compensation. Issues such as long-term health care, educational protection, sexual abuse, and helplessness confronting coaches.

McCann agrees that these are “very important” issues that need to be addressed soon. But he stressed before the committee the need for Nile reform to “focus on zero”.

McCann said, “Nothing gravitates toward one area of ​​law, the right of publicity. And [it] It needs immediate attention.”

Committee chair Maria Cantwell of Washington says the two-hour, 45-minute hearing proves that senators are paying their full attention.

“I think you see my colleagues are ready to dig,” Cantwell said. “More than half have been involved in this and that’s a lot for the US Senate to be active in this policy. So you can see the determination. We’re determined to get that done.”

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