Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Richard Blumenthal introduced legislation on Thursday called the “College Athletes Bill of Rights” that has the potential to change the way athletes in major-college sports programs are compensated.
The bill, which comes on the heels of Senator Roger Wicker introducing legislation that would let college athletes collect pay for usage of their names, images and likenesses, would require schools to share half of the profits from revenue-generating sports with the players after the cost of scholarships are deducted.
Like Wicker’s bill, the 61-page piece of new legislation would also allow college athletes to earn money off their names, images and likenesses through either individual or group licensing deals as well as create a number of other provisions that would benefit student-athletes.
“As a former college athlete, these issues are deeply personal to me,” said Booker, who played football at Stanford. “The NCAA has exploited generations of college athletes for its own personal financial gain by preventing athletes from earning any meaningful compensation and failing to keep the athletes under its charge healthy and safe.”
In related news, the Supreme Court accepted a petition from the NCAA defending its restrictions on education-related compensation (like laptops) and for basketball and football players earlier this week.
“This is an issue that has been festering for a number of years now,” Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, told The Washington Post. “The Supreme Court has not ruled on amateurism and the application of antitrust law in relation to the NCAA in over 35 years. There has been a fair amount of confusion in the courts with litigants over the scope and deference the NCAA is entitled to over antitrust law.”
Regardless of how the court rules or which piece of legislation is adopted, it appears college athletes are on the verge of getting paid to play, finally.