Congressional proposal would cover college sports, require revenue sharing, cover medical costs of athletes


The most recent congressional proposal to reopen college sports is intended to codify the college athlete’s ability to earn money to endorse.

Thursday, proposed by college athlete Bill of Rights, co-authors Sen. Corey Booker, DNJ, and Sen. Richard Blumentahl, D-Con., Would create sweeping changes to college sports, including provisions that would force some schools. Share revenue with some of your athletes, guarantee lifetime scholarships to athletes in good academic standing, establish health and safety regulations enforced by heavy fines for violators, and some out-of-pocket therapy for current and former athletes Set up a fund to cover expenses. .

The rules and requirements set forth in the bill will be implemented by a newly formed Commission on College Athletics, run by nine board members appointed by the President of the United States. They will hire an employee to resolve disputes, suggest changes to the rules, and investigate misbehavior with witnesses. This group, which will receive $ 50 million in taxpayer funds for its first two years, will do a lot of college sports.

According to Booker, “This is one of the few industries in America that allows people to be exploited, who are responsible for making the most of revenue.” “I think the federal government has a role and responsibility that we are shaking in terms of protecting athletes and ensuring their safety. I really believe that there is an urgency here that has not been met for decades and decades. We It is needed. Step up and do something about it. “

Booker’s bill is one of a half-dozen proposals from members of Congress to regulate the changing business model of college sports. NCAA President Mark Emmert and others have called for federal lawmakers to help enact a national law that regulates the future marketplace for college athletes selling their name, image and equality rights. The NCAA Board of Governors is scheduled to vote next month on whether to change its rules to allow athletes to collect NIL payments. Emmert said at a conference last week that his vote is in some ways “contingent” on receiving aid from Congress.

Other proposed bills pay particular attention to what kind of endorsement deals college athletes should be allowed to sign and what kind of restrictions the NCAA should be allowed to enforce. The bill, proposed on Thursday, represents a sweeping change in college sports. Booker said the NCAA did not do a good job protecting its athletes on many different fronts because larger scope was necessary. Blumenthal said a bill that creates new rules without a strong enforcement element is an “effectively dead letter.”

Both senators conferred with several college sports leaders when constructing the bill. Booker said that he deliberately did most of his interactions with current and former athletes because he wanted to enact legislation that focused only on improving or protecting the rights of athletes. Blumenthal said he had heard of some quiet support from university presidents who felt that college sports needed significant improvement.

The first stop of the bill in the legislative process will be for discussion in the Judiciary Committee. Booker said he thinks it is possible for Congress to pass a law for college sports reform in the first half of 2021. The co-sponsors of the bill are all Democrats so far. Blumenthal said it could improve the odds of moving faster with his “ambitious and comprehensive” bill, depending on which party controls the Senate. Regardless, he said, “It’s just an idea whose time has come.”

Booker said he encouraged dialogue with politicians on both sides of the aisle on some of the issues addressed in the bill.

“I am completely optimistic that using this framework, we can build support for real significant changes in the way the NCAA operates,” Booker said.

That outline is laid out in more detail in the 56-page proposal, which details how the changes will be implemented or regulated. Some of the most notable details are as follows:

Name, Image and Similarity

• College athletes will be allowed to sign endorsement deals with a wide variety of companies. He must report any deal to his athletic department within 21 days. This information will be stored in a private database.

• Athletes will be able to sign deals with apparel brands that compete with their school’s apparel brand, but schools may require them to wear school-sponsored gear during any mandatory team events. An exception is footwear. Athletes will be allowed to wear shoes from their individual sponsors during team events.

• State governments can enact laws that prohibit athletes from supporting companies in certain industries (gambling, illegal substances, etc.), unless universities are also banned from supporting the same industry. Unlike other proposals, individual schools will not be able to place any restrictions on the type of business that an athlete can support.

revenue sharing

• Athletes in sports who generate more revenue than the total amount of money spent on scholarships in that sport will be entitled to share 50% of the remaining funds after the scholarship is paid. For example, in FBS level football, the commission would combine the revenue generated from all 130 football programs together and deduct the total cost of scholarships in all those programs. Half of the money left will be distributed equally among all players at the FBS level. According to Booker’s office, the sports that currently generate enough money to qualify for this revenue partnership are football (FBS and FCS levels), men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball.

Agents

• Athletes will be allowed to appoint agents or join groups that will help them secure group-licensing fees. Schools, conferences, and organizations such as the NCAA will not be allowed to determine which agents can hire an athlete. The proposed commission will create and oversee a process for certifying agents.

medical care

• Schools must contribute annually to a medical trust fund to cover the cost of medical care for athlete’s sports-related injuries. Athletes will be eligible for funding during their college career and five years after it ends.

• The US Department of Health and Human Services will create standards of care related to health, welfare and safety. Those standards will address signaling protocols, sexual assault, long-term injuries and more. Any schools that violate the standards will be subject to fines of up to 30% of their annual athletics revenue, which is equivalent to tens of millions of dollars for Power 5 schools.

Education

• Schools will be required to continue paying for an athlete’s scholarship until they complete their bachelor’s degree, as long as the athlete maintains a GPA of 2.2 or higher.

• Schools will not be allowed to discourage athletes from taking certain classes or participating in other extra-curricular activities. Those who violate that rule may face fines of up to 20% of their annual athletics revenue.

Transfers and drafts

• Athletes will be allowed to move schools without facing penalty. Athletes will not be able to transfer during their playing season or in 45 days, which will begin the season.

• Athletes will also be able to enter a format for a professional sports league without losing their eligibility. If the athlete decides not to turn pro after entering the draft, they must tell their athletic director that they are returning to college within seven days of the draft ending.

The commission

• The commission will consist of nine members with different expertise and backgrounds. Members will provide five years of service. At least five of them will have to become former athletes at some point. Administrators of any university or athletic department will not be allowed to serve on the board.

• The commission will collect and publicly share an annual report from every college’s athletic department – both public and private schools – that outline their finances. The report will cover their annual revenues and their expenses, including coaching salaries and booster donations.

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