It’s now or never – Actually July 1st!
Will they or won’t they? That is the question. The NCAA is all a fluster as various states prepare to enact their individual versions of Name+Image+Likeness bills (NIL) come July 1st of this year. Congress was supposed to have passed a national NIL Bill this Spring to preempt the onslaught of states bills. Not so, and the time keeps slipping away.
Reps Anthony Gonzalez/Emanuel Cleaver recently re-introduced (26Apr2021) an updated version of the bipartisan bill they earlier proposed, the Student Athlete Level Playing Field Act. Even their updated bill only covers NIL and leaves a handful of other related issues blowing in the wind (athletes health benefits, education reforms, profit-sharing, etc., are not covered by the SALPFA.
Those issues are covered in the U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced groundbreaking legislation that will change the landscape of college sports and protect and expand the rights of college athletes. The College Athletes Bill of Rights will guarantee fair and equitable compensation, enforceable health and safety standards, and improved educational opportunities for all college athletes. Given the comprehensive nature of the CABoR, it is unlikely to be passed within the next year or two.
“College athletes have entertained the American people for generations—to the financial benefit of schools, administrators, and everyone except for the student athletes themselves,” said Congressman Cleaver. “With the NCAA’s failure to implement its self-stated goal of creating new NIL rules that level the playing field for athletes across the country, it’s clear the time has come for Congress to address this issue on a bipartisan basis. I’m proud to once again introduce the Student Athlete Level Playing Field Act with Congressman Gonzalez, which will rectify the economic injustice that currently exists within college athletics by granting athletes the right to capitalize off their NIL. It’s a common sense proposal that remedies the unacceptable status quo, and I look forward to working with Rep. Gonzalez to ensuring it becomes the law of the land.”
“I am proud to reintroduce the bipartisan Student Athlete Level Playing Field Act with Congressman Cleaver today. We have worked together on this issue for over a year now, and I believe that our proposal truly represents a bipartisan pathway to creating a federal NIL standard,” Gonzalez said. “We are facing a tight deadline with state laws taking effect just around the corner. The time for action on this issue is now. Student athletes have long deserved the right to profit from their NIL. Our bill would grant this right, while also protecting the integrity of the college sports system.”
At least 5 states will enact NIL laws this coming July. While the number of states that have either introduced legislation or passed formal NIL laws grows at a rapid pace, Georgia has now joined Florida, Alabama, New Mexico and Mississippi by enacting a name, image and likeness law with a July 1, 2021 effective date.
It’s “Do or Die” time for the congressional legislators. Either they muster up and pass the Student Athlete Level Playing Field Act or chaos will ensue. Congress, as realized over these last 4.5 years is grossly inept. Will they or won’t they pass a national bill to govern name+image+likeness to circumvent a national NIL circus?
My money is on chaos.