A bill introduced Thursday by four Democratic lawmakers would grant college athletes sweeping rights to compensation, including a share of the revenue generated by their sports, and create a federal commission to oversee college athletics.
The College Athletes Bill of Rights is sponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). If passed, it could wreak havoc on the NCAA's ability to govern intercollegiate athletics and the association's model for amateurism.
The announcement of the bill comes a day after the Supreme Court agreed to review a court ruling the NCAA says blurs the “line between student-athletes and professionals” by removing caps on certain compensation that major college football and basketball players can receive.
The NCAA has turned to Congress for help as it works toward permitting athletes to earn money from endorsements and sponsorship deals, while also trying to fend off myriad state-level bills that would undercut any attempt to create uniform rules for competing schools.
Last week, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced a bill that would allow college athletes to be paid for their names, images and likenesses, with oversight from the Federal Trade Commission. The bill also protects the NCAA from future antitrust challenges to its compensation rules.
Booker and Blumenthal's bill, however, goes way beyond NIL rights for athletes and is not nearly as NCAA-friendly.
“As a former college athlete, these issues are deeply personal to me,” said Booker, who played football at Stanford. “The NCAA has exploited generations of college athletes for its own personal financial gain by preventing athletes from earning any meaningful compensation and failing to keep the athletes under its charge healthy and safe.”
The legislation would allow college athletes to earn money off their names, images and likenesses with minimal restrictions, through either individual or group licensing deals.