NCAA: New Bill Offers Way Forward on NIL

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The NCAA on Monday released a statement praising a new bipartisan bill that would allow student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) was introduced in September but was not acted upon before that Congressional session ended. The most recent version includes two new stipulations according to the USA TODAY:

  • In addition to allowing the NCAA, conferences and schools to prohibit athletes from having sponsorship deals with certain types of companies, like tobacco companies or brands, it now has a parity clause. If the NCAA, a conference or a school did prohibit athletes from having deals in a certain business category, then that entity also would not be allowed have a sponsorship deal with a company in that category.
  • The new version also would appear to give athletes greater leeway to make endorsement deals with shoe and apparel companies. The new version says a school can prohibit an athlete from โ€œwearing any item of clothing or gear with the insignia of any entity during any athletic competition or athletic-related university-sponsored event.โ€ This would mean that an athlete attending a non-athletic event or studying abroad could wear apparel in connection with an endorsement contract. 

โ€œWe value the bipartisan nature of U.S. Reps. Gonzalez and Cleaver to again collaborate across party lines and sponsor legislation to support student-athletes,โ€ the NCAA said in a statement. โ€œTheir House bill will strengthen the college athlete experience and support the NCAA and its members to modernize name, image and likeness rules but not pay student-athletes or turn them into employees of their college or university. Moreover, the Gonzalez-Cleaver legislation would create a legal and legislative framework to preserve and enhance the mission of college sports: that students can play the sport they love and earn a degree โ€“ often with a full scholarship and no debt โ€“ and set themselves up for a lifetime of success. We look forward to continuing to work with both lawmakers, their co-sponsors and other members of Congress on these important measures.โ€

"We thought that it's time for us to put a stake in the ground so that we can begin to talk and negotiate on this issue," Cleaver told USA TODAY Sports. "We obviously realize we've got to reconcile a House bill with a Senate bill. At this point, there's no hostility. It's not like the House version versus the Senate version. . . . All of us pretty much want the same thing. This is a civil rights issue and we want to set the athletes free โ€” not unlike what Moses did."

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