Lawmakers look to create rules around paying college athletes

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 3:36 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-AL, wants to install a series of federal rules for students making money off their name image and likeness.

In a new bipartisan bill with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, student NIL contracts would need to be disclosed, and agents would need to register with the FTC.

“Basic parameters for all 50 states,” Tuberville said. “Right now you have some states that are going out and offering money to 9th and 10th graders, and some states can’t do that because it’s against the law.”

Tuberville said the bill comes after suggestions from college sports leaders like conference officials and Alabama coach Nick Saban.

“Hopefully we can put some sense and reality to this, but right now, it’s totally out of control, and you’re having young men and women sign contracts that go to some universities that don’t get their money.

The bill prohibits student athletes earning sponsorships for industries like marijuana or gambling.

It would also bar students from transferring to other schools for three years, with some exceptions. Attorney Jason Setchen said that is not in students best interest.

“There’s a bunch of different groups within a successful athletic program,” Setchen said. “And it’s unfair that everybody but the student athletes has the freedom to move around to better opportunities for them and their families.”

Setchen said a uniform standard of rules is necessary, and he likes parts of the bill, including setting up a health insurance fund for current and former athletes. But Setchen would like to see a plan that is more in the corner of student athletes.

“There are all these bodies competing for their best interests, and unfortunately, it seems to me that student athletes are the most underrepresented group, even though they’re the most affected.”

There have been several attempts to create NIL rules since a 2021 Supreme Court ruling required it be allowed, but none have passed.