NCAA President Mark Emmert told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday that he will meet in Washington next week with Senators and Congressmen regarding legislation based on the ability of college athletes to make money using their names, images and likenesses. The meetings have become more urgent as the number of states enacting related laws with effective dates of July 1 or earlier has increased to six in recent weeks.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on Thursday signed a bill that brought his state alongside Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and New Mexico with name, image and College Sports Likeness (NIL) slated for July 1. Last summer, Nebraska passed an NIL law. which allows its colleges to select any date no later than July 1, 2023 for implementation.
In total, there are now at least 13 states with these kinds of laws, and NCAA officials – as well as those representing various conferences and schools – have been pushing for a single federal measure. Three bills have been introduced in this session of Congress and Emmert is expected to meet with one of those authors, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Moran said on Saturday.
The NCAA has also considered changing its NIL rules, a move that would fundamentally change a system of amateurism that prevents athletes from participating in endorsement deals, monetizing their social media followers, or getting paid to sign deals. autographs in a business that generates billions of dollars. dollars for their schools. But the NCAA’s proposals would conflict with certain provisions of state law.
Emmert mentioned meetings, in person or through Zoom, with many other lawmakers, including Senate Commerce Committee chair, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., And committee rank member Roger Wicker, R- Miss.
But time is running out for a bill to be passed by Congress and the White House by July 1.
“It obviously gets more difficult with each passing day because of the sheer timeline of getting things done on short notice in Congress,” Emmert said. “And Congress is, of course, occupied with a whole bunch of other things – general issues – that extend far beyond the world of college sports in America.”
Additionally, while the NCAA wants clarification on NIL, it also wants protection from future antitrust lawsuits related to its athlete compensation rules. It met resistance from the senses. Cory Booker, DN.J., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., And Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Who are pushing for legislation that would include assistance for athletes that goes beyond void rights.
“There’s a lot of effort and a lot of serious possibilities to do it,” Emmert said. “Whether it’s done on July 1 or after, I think it’s a call. But I believe the recognition that we need a federal (law), rather than 50 individual laws, is clear and we hope we can get there sooner or later.
Meanwhile, echoing comments published by The New York Times on Saturday, Emmert reiterated his commitment that whatever Congressional action takes, the NCAA will approve new, relaxed NIL rules in time for the start of the season. school year 2021-22. The NCAA had been prepared to vote on such rule changes in January, but filed the question after the Supreme Court chose to hear the association’s appeal of the Alston antitrust case. The then head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, also sent a letter to Emmert expressing serious concerns about the association’s approaches to transferring NILs and athletes.
“We – that is, the NCAA, the members, the boards of directors (of the association), the schools, me – we are committed to our student-athletes to give them the opportunity to monetize.” their name, their image and their likeness by this coming. school year, ”Emmert said. “… We wrote the rules. The only thing the NCAA needs right now is a vote. And we have to get this vote done. … There is no reason we cannot do this and I have no doubts that we will.
It remains to be seen the precise moment of the vote. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said his lawyers had advised his conference and other members of the Power Five to wait for the Supreme Court’s decision in the Alston case “ just to make sure, with great caution, that we do nothing. it will be contrary to the mandate of the tribunal.
A decision will likely be made later this month or in June. The Alston case does not directly concern NIL, but the judges could address the NCAA’s power to make its own rules in certain areas without facing antitrust lawsuits.
But Bowlsby – who chairs an NCAA committee that worked on NIL rule changes – agreed with Emmert on the need for NCAA action. “I think the worst thing we could have is not putting anything in place on July 1,” Bowlsby said.
He said that in the absence of federal law, “the next best position is probably to have both state laws in certain areas and a rule (NCAA) that governs for people who have no state law “that would relax the NIL rules.
And Bowlsby said that, in this scenario, the association and schools would just have to live with the differences between state laws and NCAA rules. If the NCAA were to undertake a legal challenge to state law, he said, “It’s going to be difficult for the association to do that without schools in this state joining the lawsuit, and no institution is going to sue.” their own legislature. “
Emmert said the NCAA could largely avoid this problem in the short term, as the proposed NCAA rule changes are very similar to the state statutes that were passed in the five states are going to be triggered here on July 1. But “the other states that are going to be triggered downstream are quite different.”
The changes proposed by the NCAA would give schools the ability to prevent athletes from entering into approval agreements under certain circumstances. California law – which gives schools much less leeway – now has an effective date of January 1, 2023. However, under a bill currently under consideration by the state legislature, this would be postponed to January 1, 2022, or the date the NCAA rules governing NIL change.