Sunday December 3, 2023

NCAA Scrambles

  • If Congress or the NCAA doesn’t set a nationwide precedent by July 1, schools in states with NIL laws will receive major recruiting advantages.
  • So far, the NCAA hasn’t made an official, public statement confirming athletes won't be punished for participating.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks
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If Congress or the NCAA doesn’t set a nationwide precedent by July 1, schools in states with NIL laws will receive major recruiting advantages. 

NCAA President Mark Emmert has said in private that athletes who participate in these deals won’t be punished. But the NCAA hasn’t made an official, public statement confirming this.

Lobbying Attempts

Congress, obviously, has other things on its mind. But this week, Emmert traveled to Washington to lobby for a federal NIL law to pass by July 1, he told USA Today.

Of the few federal bills proposed, the NCAA has really only sung the praises of one: the Student Athlete Level Playing Field Act. It’s a rather tempered, bipartisan bill written by Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-Oh.).

“Their House bill will strengthen the college athlete experience and support the NCAA and its members,” the NCAA said in part on April 26. 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who co-authored one of the more liberal bills, said during an Aspen Institute discussion in February that he plans to make sure Congress enacts a law by July 1. But he cautioned, “Don’t underestimate our ability to take all the time that we have until the final hours of a deadline.”

Rules at Home

Of course, Emmert could also maximize his efforts — and save travel expenses — by staying at NCAA headquarters and helping the governing body finally vote on its own rules.

And while those rules wouldn’t overrule disparities in state laws, they would at least assuage the pending recruiting nightmare.

Emmert told The New York Times he wants the NCAA to vote on the NIL rules that have been collecting dust since last fall. But that probably won’t happen until the Alston Supreme Court ruling is handed down in May or June, which will decide if the NCAA’s legislation violates antitrust law.

What’s more, the NCAA appears to be struggling to find a company to fill the “third-party administrator” role to keep track of NIL deals. 

On May 10, INFLCR bowed out of the running due to “conflict of interest” concerns, given that it would be overseeing its partner schools.

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