Monday , The NCAA suffered a heavy loss when the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of former college athletes in a dispute over player compensation. The debate over compensating college athletes has been going on for years. While this provision does not allow for student-athletes to be paid for their name, image, and likeness, it requires the NCAA not to limit educational expenses schools can make to student-athletes. It also rejected the NCAA’s request for exemption from the normal operation of antitrust laws, stating that “the NCAA is not above the law.”
The ruling sparked greater debate about whether this was the start of major changes to the NCAA’s model, and ultimately a move toward paying student-athletes. With seven bills covering compensation, and a name, photo, and example (none) of athletes moving through Congress at the moment, that assumption isn’t unreasonable. Monday may have been the start of a losing streak for the NCAA over the next few years.
Here is an overview of each NIL bill in Congress and how it would positively or negatively affect student-athletes if passed.
The University Athletes Bill of Rights, introduced on December 18, 2020, and sponsored by Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL-9), is by far the most comprehensive bill covering the NIL if passed, it would lead to fundamental change. In the lives of current college athletes, recently unqualified athletes, and graduating athletes.
Professional athlete certifications: Athletes will be able to participate in endorsement deals with third parties even if they conflict with deals related to their schools, as long as the athlete is participating in endorsements outside of mandatory team activities. Also, athletes can wear the shoes of their choice specifically during mandatory team activities. This ruling on the shoes is significant because it opens the door to stronger endorsement deals for athletes than any other bill currently running through Congress. The key here is that athletes can pursue endorsements without penalties such as losing scholarships or playing.
Pro – revenue sharing: The bill also states that intercollegiate sports federations will be required to distribute the proceeds of commercial sports proceeds to covered college athletes. There is more verbiage in the bill about who the athlete is included and the percentage of NIL’s revenue.
Pro – Covering Additional Medical Expenses: In addition, under the committee that will be formed after this law is passed, there will be a medical trust fund to cover athletes’ out-of-pocket expenses related to sports injuries for up to five years after they become ineligible to play. This aspect of the bill would also cover sports-related medical conditions diagnosed after their career, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), as well as costs associated with second opinions sought by college athletes.
Pro-Greater Rights to Educational Outcomes: Student-athletes will be able to maintain their scholarship even after their eligibility has been completed as long as they maintain good academic standing and a GPA above 2.20. In addition, staff and volunteers in the sports department cannot influence student-athletes in choosing their academic career. Finally, to ensure that athletes are given freedom over academics, academic advising and tutoring will not be in the hands of the sports department but will be provided by the university.
Now that we’ve covered this law, dealing with others should be much easier.
This bill is being passed through the House and Senate sponsored by Senators Christopher Murphy (D-CT) and Representative Lori Trahan (D-MA-3) and was introduced on February 4, 2021.
Pro – NIL rights without changes to grant assistance: Scholarship in aid means a scholarship, grant or other form of financial aid offered by a college or higher education institution to student-athletes while they are pursuing their studies.
Con – Eligible Entities: Entities eligible for sponsorship are limited to corporations within the United States.
This bill is sponsored by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and submitted to the Senate on February 24, 2021.
Pro – Athlete endorsements for current student-athletes
Pro – Enter Draft and Retain Eligibility: This allows athletes to announce the draft, and as long as they do not receive any compensation from teams, agents, etc., they will be able to announce their intention to resume participation as a college athlete as long as they notify their university of the refusal. Seven days after the draft.
Pro – Scholarship Assistance for Former Student-Athlete-turned-Professional: This will allow schools to provide a full-fledged scholarship to athletes who have not completed their undergraduate studies due to pursuing a career in professional sports.
Pro – Covering Additional Medical Expenses: Expenses will be covered out of pocket for injuries that occurred during their college sports career to endurance for up to two years after their amateur status expires. This also includes the cost of seeking second opinions.
Almoayyed – Creating a Company: Starting the Amateur Intercollegiate Athletic Corporation is a good thing because it takes enforcement of this law out of the hands of schools.
Con – Sports endorsements for recruits: Yes, recruits. Unfortunately, the bill does not have explicit rules about any time during the hiring process, but for now, I think it’s best to provide endorsements only to current college athletes. You have to crawl before you can walk.
Con – Athletes must provide certification documents: College athletes and insane will be able to enter into endorsement deals but must submit a copy of the endorsement contract to their university. I see one big problem with this. If schools are not considered part of the endorsement negotiations, why are athletes required to provide them with their contracts? To me, it’s like signing a contract with a company and then giving a copy of your contract to a co-worker. Nobody does that. If the information is submitted to a committee that oversees the NIL for that particular university, be sure to pass the contract for compliance and transparency. If not, this is another excuse for schools to waste their hands in the pockets and privacy of athletes.
This law is sponsored by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH16) and was originally introduced on September 24, 2020 and again on April 26, 2021.
Pro – Athlete endorsements for current student-athletes
Pro – create commission: Creating the Indoor Sports Organizing Committee is a good thing because it takes enforcement of this law out of the hands of schools.
This bill is sponsored by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and was introduced on December 10, 2020.
Pro – Social Media Compensation: The bill clearly defines social media compensation in its language about the NIL for student-athletes.
Pro – Protection of Athletes from Termination of Agreements: If an athlete no longer participates in a college sport, the athlete can cancel the non-participation agreement. This is true as long as the remaining term is greater than one year. Termination of the Agreement under these Terms will ensure that the Athlete will not be held liable for breach of contract and not be obligated to return payments received prior to notice.
Health and Safety Committee for Student Athlete Supporter: This committee will set standards to help prevent serious injury or mistreatment of student-athletes.
Educational resources provided in connection with covered compensation: This presents a problem because all educational resources should be covered regardless of the compensation included, not taken into account
This bill is sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and was first introduced to the Senate on June 16, 2021.
Pro – Athlete can receive compensation from a third party
The player must submit a compensation report to the organization
This bill is co-sponsored by Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT) and Representative Jamal Bowman (D-NY-16) and was first introduced in the Senate on May 27, 2021, and in the House on June 16, 2021.
Unfortunately, preliminary papers for this bill have been available to the House or Senate at congress.gov.
As you can see, all of these bills in Congress are currently working to ensure that athletes can be compensated through endorsement deals without interference from their universities. Many also allow athletes to designate an appropriate representation without losing the scholarship or grant aid. However, some bills are more comprehensive than others. Likewise, some bills contain aspects that benefit athletes more than others.
While each of these laws will be revised and negotiated in Congress, there is a lot at stake for both student-athletes and the NCAA. If any of these are passed, they will dramatically change the amateur sports landscape and it’s important to know that these are pieces of legislation that our government is currently refining.