The U.S. Senate appears to being doing little to help universities and college coaches when it comes to name, image and likeness.
After a Senate hearing on Wednesday on the subject, it seems Congress is in no hurry to push legislation that will make rules even across the board in college athletics regarding NIL.
The NCAA, along with coaches and college administrators, were at Capital Hill pleading to the Senate to speed up legislation and pass a uniform rule before July 1, when five states–Alabama, Georgia, New Mexico, Florida and Mississippi–will have their own NIL laws begin.
South Carolina’s bill, which passed last month, will not be law until July 1, 2022.
“We need your help,” Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few told legislators. “This is not an issue the NCAA and individual states can fix.”
The perception is that extra benefits will be running wild if Congress does not act in the next three weeks.
According to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is working hard to assemble a bipartisan NIL bill through her chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Commerce. However, there is growing evidence that a federal bill coming from Commerce — if it is indeed developed — won’t be enough.
Last month, NCAA President Mark Emmert called on the NCAA Council to enact legislation regarding the NIL prior to July 1.
The Autonomy Five Conferences released their own joint statement on Wednesday afternoon calling on Congress to take action regardless of what the NCAA decides.
“Only Congress can pass a national solution for student-athlete NIL rights. The patchwork of state laws that begins on July 1 will disadvantage student-athletes in some states and create an unworkable system for others,” the statement said.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told Brian Murphy of the News & Observer in Raleigh, the situation with the NIL is about to become a mess.
Rubio says states were passing new laws in an attempt to force the NCAA’s hands. However, the NCAA Council is unlikely to pass anything to set a nationwide standard on NIL.
“The reason why states are acting is to force the NCAA’s hands and if they don’t, then Congress will have to step in, otherwise we’re going to have a royal mess on our hands,” Rubio said in a tweet from Murphy.
The NCAA council convenes again this month but the sentiment among conference commissioners is that the inaction will continue.
Rubio does not see anyway Congress can act on this matter by July 1, and have what happened on Wednesday, he appears to be correct.
“We’ve tried for a year. Ideally, the NCAA would have fixed it,” he said in another Murphy tweet. “They’re going to have a mess on their hands.”
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