Conferences Lobby Hard

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    • The Power Five college conferences spent more money lobbying in the first quarter than any full year prior.

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As discussions around college athlete endorsement money continue, the Power Five conferences are doing all they can to ensure a prime seat at the table. The SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12, ACC and Big 12 spent $350,000 on lobbying in the first three months of 2020 – more than they had previously in any full year, according to the Associated Press. 

The SEC, in its first-ever foray into congressional lobbying, led the way by spending a total of $140,000 with three firms in Washington. The Pac-12 and Big Ten, also first-timers, spent $70,000 and $20,000, respectively, while the ACC and Big 12 each laid out $60,000.

The conferences each spent at least $10,000 with two firms: Subject Matter, led by Democrats, and Marshall & Popp, which is run by former Republican congressional staffers. Both firms state their objective as a “national solution to preserve the unique model of American college athletics.”

In recent weeks both Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told FOS a federal law would help level the collegiate playing field as individual states start to roll out their own legislation. Last year, the NCAA itself spent $450,000 on congressional lobbying, the most since 2014, and has exceeded that pace by spending $130,000 in the first quarter of this year.

Conference Lobbying “Core Principles”

  • One term of academic progress before athletes can sign endorsement deals.
  • Ban on athlete deals with “categories inconsistent with higher education.”
  • Limitations on who can advise athletes.