In a report by USA Today, Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal, and other United States Senators have come together to unveil “outlines of comprehensive legislation” that would help athletes in ways beyond making money from their names, images, and likeness.
Bill of Rights
The senators have issued a statement guided by what they refer to as college athletes’ bill of rights to give athletes revenue sharing agreements. They will create a new safety and wellness standard, improve on education, improve on healthcare and change the policy that athletes have to sit out or withdraw from a National Letter of Intent when they change schools. In short, the bill will be aimed at fighting for the rights of these young athletes, promote justice and equity, and help them speak out their concerns.
“We have to create a system that the NCAA had not been willing to do on its own,” Booker told USA Today. “We’re talking to a lot of athletes who have painful stories. These are courageous young people who right now are speaking out.. and often facing retribution for speaking out about their basic rights. I respect these athletes for showing such courage and commitment to the larger issues of equity and justice within college athletics”.
Sharing the same thoughts with Booker and Blumenthal are seven other Democrats, including presumptive vice president nominee Kamala Harris, Calif. Bernie Sanders, long-standing NCAA critic, Chris Murphy, I-Vt. Blumenthal, Booker, and Murphy have been sharing thoughts regarding college athletes’ name, image, and likeness(NIL) rights in recent times. And this concern has progressed from the statehouse to Capitol Hill. California, Colorado, Florida, and Nebraska.
These states have passed out significant laws that will help athletes to benefit from their NIL. “We can’t return to business as usual, where a multi-billion dollar industry lines the pockets of predominantly white executives all while majority-black athletes can’t profit from their labor, this isn’t radical thinking,” Murphy said in a statement.
The NCAA Board of Governors
The NCAA board of Governors, which are the association’s top policy-making group, have agreed to loosen the association’s NIL rule to consider the variety of limits on the types of deals that athletes could make. The association has also called on Federal Lawmakers to help make new NIL rules that would favor all states.
The senators are not the only ones working on a bill to make changes. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R- Ohio, a former Ohio State and NFL wide receiver, said he has also been working on a bill that he will soon introduce. Blumenthal and Booker want the NCAA to address all issues in the past before addressing the NIL issue.
“The NCAA needs federal preemption, and now they don’t want the federal government to work with them. They want the federal government to give them the authority to create a standard. But that to me is unworkable because they have failed to address so many of these issues in the past,” they said in a joint statement. “This is an opportunity for the federal government to act, for Congress to act, to make sure that there are certain basic rights that every athlete had that will protect their health, protect their well being, that would protect their achievement of education and address other issues of exploitation that continues.”
The Senators are known to seek to provide athletes with lifetime scholarships to finish their undergraduate degrees. They will also increase the financial assistance for current and former athletes with medical bills and “out of pocket expenses from sport-related injuries and illnesses from COVID-19”. Blumenthal was asked when this concept will officially become a bill, according to him, the overall goal is to persuade colleges to do the right things, and they will only adopt legislation if necessary.
While college football is fighting the pandemic and tries to bring back sports, it’s a good thing higher-ups are thinking about the wellbeing of the players. This new development will go a long way to help them voice out their concerns, improve on a lot of things in colleges like their health care and education systems while doing that, the government will change the old and incompetent system of the NCAA as stated above. Athletes will be more than relieved to hear this news