Senate Committee Seeks Professional Opinions on NIL | Athletic Business

Senate Committee Seeks Professional Opinions on NIL

The NCAA continues to hear from government officials as it begins rolling out a plan to allow student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness.

Days after Senators Cory Booker and Chris Murphy called the NCAA Board of Governors’ proposed reforms “both a step forward and a step back,” Senate Commerce Committee chairman Roger Wicker sent a letter to officials throughout the college sports landscape.

Thursday’s letter from Wicker says that “the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has legislative and oversight jurisdiction over matters related to interstate commerce generally and sports in particular. As such, the committee seeks to gain a better understanding of the current system for compensating student-athletes and to hear a range of perspectives on this complex issue.”

Wicker, a Republican representing Mississippi, asked 50 entities across the NCAA, universities, conferences and junior colleges for more information regarding the name, image and likeness debate. The letter includes 20 questions related to the issue, and asks for responses by June 5.

Among the topics raised in the letter are how student-athletes are currently financially supported, if certain student-athletes or teams receive more support, if the recruiting process takes into account the worth of athletes’ NIL or how athletes would benefit the university financially, and whether statewide or nationwide laws would be more effective.

College athletes have traditionally been prevented from earning money, a policy that has been under scrutiny for years. Thoughts of reform began to ramp up when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the state’s “Fair Pay to Play Act” last September. More states followed suit. None of the bills have gone into effect yet, sparking the NCAA to work with the U.S. Congress to ensure that a universal policy is established.

Related content: NCAA Board of Governors Supports NIL Rule Changes

The NCAA Board of Governors announced late last month that it supports rule changes that would allow student-athletes to “receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics. It also supports compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October.”

The NCAA, which is hoping to vote on an updated NIL policy in January, said that the Board of Governors is “requiring guardrails around any future name, image and likeness activities. These would include no name, image and likeness activities that would be considered pay for play; no school or conference involvement; no use of name, image and likeness for recruiting by schools or boosters; and regulation of agents and advisors.”

Related content: Senators: NCAA NIL Reform a Step Forward and Back

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