WASHINGTON, DC – NCAA President Mark Emmert believes that some state laws and federal proposals to regulate compensation for collegiate athletes would fundamentally alter intercollegiate athletics and make it “almost unrecognizable,” he says in written testimony presented to Congress.
Emmert’s 3,100-word testimony provides a window into his appearance Wednesday afternoon in front of a panel of U.S. senators in what will be the fifth hearing on Capitol Hill on how NCAA athletes should make money from his name, image and similarity (NIL).
According to his testimony, Emmert is expected to again encourage legislators to create a federal bill to universally govern the NIL while at the same time expressing concern about a hodgepodge of different state NIL laws that, he writes, “threaten the ability of the NIL. NCAA to provide uniform NIL opportunities as well as fair national competition. “The ongoing litigation against the NCAA, along with various state laws and some Democratic-backed congressional proposals, jeopardize the very nature of college athletics, he says. .
“These proposals, such as those that require revenue sharing, would threaten to turn college athletes into paid employees of their institutions and jeopardize opportunities for the hundreds of thousands of student-athletes who compete in non-revenue-generating sports.” , write. in testimony.
Emmert will join five other witnesses here in Washington on Wednesday for a 10 a.m. hearing before members of the Senate Commerce Committee, the Congressional group with jurisdiction over NIL. It is the most significant NIL audience to date. The event is the first since Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) Assumed the presidency and comes at a somewhat chaotic time.
For the past several months, Cantwell has orchestrated an effort to compromise on a Congressional NIL bill, one that could offer a uniform policy. But time is running out. A whopping 18 states have passed their own laws to govern NIL, five of which will take effect on July 1, throwing college sports into what experts say will be in chaos. Schools in states with NIL laws will operate under them, while others will follow the NCAA’s own legislation, which should be passed before the end of the month and is expected to offer athletes fewer freedoms than many state laws.
Wednesday’s hearing will be a public revelation of conversations that, for months, have taken place behind closed doors between the aides of five US senators working toward a compromise on NIL legislation from Congress. Among them are three Democrats – Cantwell, Cory Booker (DN.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – and two Republicans: Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) And Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
The hearing takes place when negotiations have stalled a bit as lawmakers focus on more important issues in Congress, legislative sources say. Illustrated Sports. Although some had slight hope that a compromise bill could pass by July 1, the latest delay has dashed any hope for such a swift passage, attendees say.
And still, there are many more negotiations to do. There are still gaps between the two sides, not because of NIL but because of elements that expand beyond the athlete’s compensation. Democrats are pushing for a broader bill, one that incorporates long-term health care for athletes, income sharing, and lifetime scholarships. These remain the main hurdles for Republicans like Wicker and Blackburn, who advocate tighter legislation that focuses only on the NIL.
Wednesday’s hearing is expected to present arguments from each side, both through questions from lawmakers and responses from witnesses. Some of the witnesses have been strategically selected to represent one side or the other: those who support a broader bill versus those of a more restricted legislation.
For example, Howard University President Wayne Frederick, another witness, is expected to represent smaller, low-income institutions that may struggle with funding policies beyond NIL.
Frederick fully supports athletes getting compensation from endorsement deals, according to his witness testimony, but believes requiring schools to fund athletes’ long-term health care, share income with athletes, and offer scholarships to them. lifetime could bankrupt many sports departments and disrupt Olympic Sports.
It suggests that schools receive funding to assist in these matters, either from the NCAA or the federal government. Power 5 programs are already required to provide at least two years of post-separation medical care for athletes. The Pac-12 provides four years of this.
For small programs, those that lose money on athletics as a whole, this is a heavy and expensive burden.
“As a representative of MEAC and HBCU, I have tremendous concerns about many of the proposals that would create tremendous burdens on smaller colleges and universities, particularly those historically black institutions that do not have the same resources as some of our wealthiest and most privileged. companions, ”he says. “It is important to recognize that of the 1,100 NCAA college athletic programs, only 25 programs (2.27 percent) are profitable.”
Veteran ESPN analyst Rod Gilmore, another witness, is expected to express support for a comprehensive bill, which grants athletes health care and educational opportunities years after they drop out of school. He wants any federal bill to also include group licenses and have no restrictions on athlete endorsement deals.
“If this committee addresses NIL only, then the NCAA will be the main beneficiary of that legislation, not the players,” he says in his testimony.
The broad versus narrow argument isn’t the only problem separating Republicans from Democrats. The NCAA wants a tight antitrust safe harbor to protect it from litigation over NIL and wants any bill from Congress to completely precede state law. Democrats are firmly against both.
Two other witnesses, law professors Michael McCann and Matthew Mitten, will give their experience on NIL. And a sixth witness, Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few, is, like Emmert, urging Congress to pass a federal solution to avoid cross-state recruiting drawbacks.
In Few’s written testimony, he describes college sports as a “critical juncture” and that his future is “in jeopardy.” The coach pleads with legislators to create a uniform policy, notes the number of positives in college athletics that often go unnoticed, and, in one of the most interesting statements, berates his own sport for not solving the NIL problem years ago. .
“I really wish I had tackled this a long time ago,” he says, “but here we are and we have to make changes.”
More NIL coverage:
• NCAA President Mark Emmert recommends action on NIL rules by July
• NIL’s Hidden Industry and the Changing World for College Athletes
• With a staggering change, Florida pushes to delay its state NIL law until 2022
• Georgia’s NIL law would allow schools to share athlete sponsorship money
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.