NCAA president meets with U.S. Congress about NIL legislation
The GIST: The NCAA can’t get enough of Washington, D.C. According to a Friday report, new president Charlie Baker spent his first few weeks on the job meeting with nine members of U.S. Congress from both parties about upcoming NIL legislation.
The details: The conversations were “introductory in nature” and focused on NIL solutions. Former politician Baker met with ex–college football coach and current Alabama Republican senator Tommy Tuberville about the NIL governance bill he’s working on with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.
The next steps: Tuberville and Manchin’s bill is expected by July, but it’s not the only piece of NIL legislation that could hit the Senate floor this year. Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Cory Booker are set to reintroduce a proposed student-athlete bill of rights, which might conflict with the other bill.
The context: Congress hasn’t passed NIL-focused legislation since 2019, despite holding at least six hearings on the topic and facing constant lobbying from the NCAA. College sports’ governing body is pushing for nationwide laws, rather than state-by-state guidelines that make dealmaking difficult to regulate.
- The legislative campaign is part of the NCAA’s larger battle over how to govern NIL deals, which recently played out when the organization punished Miami’s women’s hoops program in its first NIL infringement case.
- The Cavinders and booster John Ruiz escaped punishment for a meeting before the twins transferred to Miami, leaving some concerned that the NCAA isn’t adequately discouraging “pay-to-play” infractions.
Zooming out: Lawmakers are optimistic about passing new NIL legislation following their meetings with Baker, but the NCAA might be opening up a can of worms in the process. While Tuberville and Manchin’s bill may align with the NCAA’s desires, Blumenthal and Booker’s effort might pose a new challenge to its business model.
- A student-athlete bill of rights could further unravel the NCAA’s illusion of amateurism, something it’s still trying to legally defend despite the NIL era demonstrating players’ clear monetary value in college sports. Watch this space.