NCAA President Baker Asks Student-Athletes to Help Him Ensure They Can't Be Considered Employees

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NCAA president Charlie Baker this week issued an open letter to student-athletes, asking for their help in pushing a modernization plan that would, among many other things, prevent them from achieving status as employees of their respective institutions. 

On Dec. 6 Baker proposed a radical new plan that would allow schools to directly compensate student-athletes through an educational trust, while also creating a new D-I football subdivision for those schools that choose to participate. 

In his letter to student-athletes, Bakers said he was pleased that media coverage of his plan has kickstarted a conversation about the future of collegiate athletics. But he also asked them to join him in partnering with congress to ensure that they can't be paid directly for their roll as student-athletes. 

"College sports face many challenges, and while my proposal will help address some of those, the NCAA cannot address each one alone," Baker wrote. "We must continue to partner with Congress to prevent student-athletes from being considered employees of a school and must have the authority to make nationwide rules without endless legal challenges. I am proud that so many student-athletes are joining us in our work with Congress. Thank you! We will continue to need your voice in Washington, D.C."

Baker said he believes the changes he has proposed will enhance the opportunities available to all Division I student-athletes and help level the playing field between men and women student-athletes because schools will have to adhere to existing gender equity regulations as they invest in their athletics programs. 

"Giving schools more latitude to determine how they can best support their student-athletes and the ability to be more directly involved in NIL licensing programs is a big step in the right direction for everyone," Baker wrote. 

Key to Bakers letter, however, was asking for feedback on his plan from the student-athletes themselves. 

"Consider the memo a conversation starter," Baker wrote. "These topics have been discussed ad nauseum in press conferences, locker rooms and school offices across the country. Open social media, turn on the TV or listen to members of Congress, the debate is constant. It's now time to do something. Make your voice heard and be part of the solution that shapes the future of college sports."

Bakers letter comes as many student-athletes across the country have filed lawsuits for the right to unionize and to be viewed under the laws as employees of their institutions. 

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