Washington, D.C. (July 25, 2023): The Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) playing field is slanted heavily in favor of schools in states with NIL laws that allow boosters to have a role in the recruitment of high school players and the transfer of players from other schools. Bipartisan NIL legislation was introduced in the Senate by Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on July 25th.
The ‘Protecting Athletes, Schools and Sports Act” (PASS) would:
- Protect Student Athletes
- Protect Higher Education Institutions
- Preserve the Future of College Sports
- Improve Transparency of NIL Activities
- Moderate the Transfer Portal
- Ensure Health and Safety of Student Athletes
- Strengthen Enforcement and Oversight by Directing NCAA to oversee and investigate NIL Activities and Report Violations to the FTC
In the House, the Committee on Energy & Commerce held a March hearing on NIL. All committee members and every witness, except the ‘unionize athletes’ advocate, agreed on the need for a national NIL law to level the playing field and provide transparency in the recruiting process. The House is drafting companion NIL legislation, but it is not expected to be a smooth process as states with favorable NIL laws will look to protect their advantage.
Currently, 30 states have an NIL law and 20 do not. At the hearing, witnesses and Energy & Commerce Committee members agreed, the inconsistent laws are bad for college sports and are confusing to student-athletes. ‘Collectives’ allow boosters to combine their resources to pursue potential players and are a major problem. Laws regulating ‘Collectives’ vary widely from state to state, further tilting the NIL playing field. Small school sports programs, non-revenue, and Title IX sports are all threatened by NIL.
Last month, the NCAA announced that its NIL rules take precedence over state laws, further muddying the waters. ‘Collectives’ from USC (CA), UGA, UTENN, Ole Miss, University of Washington, and Clemson formed The Collective Association (TCA) to help clarify the current rules for student-athletes and universities and recommend new policies to improve the current system. It is unclear if the TCA is just playing defense or will work with Congress on a national NIL law.
For more information or for questions, please contact Bill Sells, SVP, Government & Public Affairs, at [email protected].