Here comes “a college athletes bill of rights”.

You know, I’m beginning to think the NCAA isn’t very good at lobbying Congress.

A group of U.S. senators plans to introduce in Congress “a college athletes bill of rights” seeking to guarantee NCAA players monetary compensation, long-term healthcare, lifetime educational scholarships and more eligibility freedoms.

The sweeping proposal comes during a year in which college leaders are pleading for help from lawmakers to craft NCAA-friendly legislation on name, image and likeness (NIL), wanting a federal bill to preempt a bevy of differing NIL state laws. In response to the NCAA’s requests, some Congressional members have demands of their own. They want reform beyond NIL.

“For them to get the cooperation from us, they’re going to have to change some of their practices,” says Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a sponsor of the bill. “The NCAA feels urgency and needs to get federal cooperation. I’m going to make sure that we also are able to change NCAA practices that undermine the students’ education, well-being and basic first amendment rights.”

Ten senators—nine Democrats and one independent—jointly announced the bill’s framework on Thursday morning. Booker, a former college football player himself at Stanford, intends for the bill of rights to be rolled into federal NIL legislation already in the works in both chambers. He suggests that some Congressional support for NIL may hinge on the support for the bill of rights proposal, which as of now does not include Republican backing. “The way the Senate works…. the NCAA has come asking for significant authorities (with NIL). We are a body that works… they are not going to get something done if it’s not bipartisan.”

Jeez, dude, all the schools wanted was a little antitrust help, and you come back with this?  Think of the kids!  (The worst part from the NCAA’s point of view is when Blumenthal says, “Our goal is really beyond this immediate session. We’re looking to the next session when we might have different membership in the Senate.”  They’re not even going to get the NIL relief they want before Florida’s law kicks in next year.)

Once again, the NCAA is about to learn the hard lesson that a maximalist approach almost never succeeds.  It didn’t in the courts and it won’t with the politicians.

Five years from now, I expect to hear widespread grumbling about how Emmert mismanaged the whole affair and the schools should have been persuaded to settle before things started rolling downhill with O’Bannon.  Lots of short memories and hindsight, in other words, from people who preferred to fight a losing battle than proactively settle for more favorable terms than they wound up getting.

Can’t say they don’t deserve what’s coming.

31 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

31 responses to “Here comes “a college athletes bill of rights”.

  1. I’m not so sure this isn’t what the NCAA has wanted all along: somebody else (Congress) to tell them what to do. Maybe they really don’t care what they are told, just as long as they can throw up their hands and say, well we tried to keep amateurism in college sports, but the lawmakers say we have to let athletes earn what they can, etc.

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  2. The NCAA is so stupid. I said as soon as they went in for an antitrust exemption, they would lose control of governing college sports. You dance with the devils in Congress eventually you’re going to get burned. Turn up the fire because Mark Emmert and his crew are officially on the spit. If they had just relented on the rules regarding NLI, transfers, and medical care, there would have been no burning platform for political intervention.

    Now, we’re going to get some federal bureaucracy that’s going to oversee college sports. Just grand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Faltering Memory

    Past time for the former Power 5 (not too late I hope) to get out of the NCAA. Pull on out SEC, ACC, and Big 12.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They’d just have to find a new Emmert to front for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But maybe they could find a way to reform that wouldn’t have to appease the non-P5 members of Division 1 if they broke away. The governance structure of the NCAA gives every member a vote and equal voice. The 280+ non-P5 schools who participate in Division 1 sports can outvote the Power 5 on every meaningful piece of NCAA legislation.

        The Power 5 is Gulliver, and he has been allowed to be tied down by the Lilliputian members of Division 1. It’s time for Gulliver along with a few Group of 5 schools to tell the NCAA to pound sand and follow Fleetwood Mac’s advice (yes, I know it’s not the same):

        Liked by 1 person

          • Let’s use the transfer rules as the example. They cover all of Division 1. The Power 5 could change the rules for transferring among Power 5 schools (sort of like a state law). When that rule crosses the “state line” between the P5 and the rest of D1, the NCAA’s D1 rule kicks in – those schools will never vote to allow the P5 to raid their rosters for good players who maybe flew under the radar.

            By the way, here was my response (First!) to your post:

            “I’m crying crocodile tears for the NCAA, and you’re right March Madness $$$ is the only thing that has kept D-1 together for a long time now. If the Power 65-70 programs figure out they could have the same share of $$$ from basketball without the other 240 or so, they’ll tell the NCAA good-bye in a heartbeat.”

            In these days of chasing dollars, I really do believe the P5 + a few can make more off the basketball tournaments and the College World Series than they do right now if they restructured them.

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  4. PTC DAWG

    All these kids (mostly adults actually) being forced to go to College, what a sham.

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    • siskey

      PTC Dawg, I understand your point. I just think that there is so much money in the sport now that it is absurd that the players don’t get more than the scholarship and COLA. I don’t want college football to be the NFL but its delusional to think that when you pay the coaching staff $30,000,000.00 that the players can’t have some money and some power over their health and playing conditions.

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    • I don’t think there’s any doubt that a college scholarship (if taken advantage of) plus the value of the development they receive at the college level is worth a lot and an incredible opportunity. The problem is the price-fixing behavior of the NCAA cartel. It’s illegal under US federal law. The NCAA’s rule book takes away a core right we all have the ability to profit from our name, likeness and image. It controls a student-athlete’s behavior outside of their athletic activities whether that’s Todd Gurley’s ability to sign autographs for pay or watch others profit from using his name on a T-shirt, Spencer Rattler’s ability to be a social media influencer based on the business he built outside of college, or every student-athlete’s likeness in a college sports video game.

      In addition to the NCAA’s rule book, point the finger at the eligibility rules enacted between the players’ associations and the NFL and NBA. They have collectively bargained to shut high school graduates out of their labor markets. They enable the one-and-done in college basketball. Their agreement generally forces the football player to spend 3 years in college.

      I think the MLB model is the right one. A high school player can be drafted (and many are drafted highly) and can negotiate a minor league contract or go to college (where they don’t receive a full cost-of-attendance scholarship). If they decide to go the college route, they have to stay for either 2 or 3 years. As a result, the guys who play college baseball understand and agree to operate under the amateurism rules (even when they agree to enter the draft as college players, they can elect not to sign a contract and retain their eligibility – I think that’s true). Why a football or basketball player doesn’t have the same options frankly sucks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • junkyardawg41

        The MLB model is interesting —- considering that minor league players aren’t part of a union and sign contracts that cede NIL to ball clubs — not to mention the low salaries these guys paid. I don’t disagree that there are lessons to be learned and some can and should be applied to the NCAA to help them out of the quagmire they are in. More to your point, there are ~240 minor league teams across the country which would at least be scalable downwards to the ~130 NCAA FBS team. I think the problem is people are trying to take a NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL model (with smaller #s of teams and fewer players )and scale it up — whether P5 or P5 +G5.

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        • I guess my real point, junkyard, is that football players in particular don’t have an alternative to college. I think they should be able to put their names into the draft as high school seniors and have the opportunity to become a pro they wish. If they aren’t selected or don’t sign a free agent deal, they should be allowed to go to college with the understanding of the rules (you have your NLI rights for endorsements, social media, etc., but part of the scholarship compensates you for the use of your NLI by the university). If you opt for the draft after that, you have the ability to pull your name back up to a week before the draft. If you go undrafted and unsigned as a free agent, you can return to school.

          Liked by 1 person

          • junkyardawg41

            I don’t disagree on the framework and I think you and I are more in alignment than we are different. As I said, I think there are lots of things college football should look at from things like Baseball. In my mind, a 3rd year player should be eligible to get drafted without declaring for the draft. For instance, Jake Fromm doesn’t have to make the choice between a 4th year and declaring for the draft. It would make sense that if a team drafted Jake in the 2nd round, he would leave school and go secure a contract. If he was a 7th round pick, he could remain in school and the team that drafted him would have rights to him (at a 7th round tender)when his eligibility was exhausted. (allowing teams to deal in the futures market)
            If you want to move the age back to High School and then every year after that one is eligible, I think that is a great idea. Too often these kids are guessing at what their value is and only find out when the rubber meets the road what it is.

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            • I think we totally agree. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with a futures market. I would much rather say that every player is eligible to be drafted in one of the 7 rounds. If you’re going to risk a pick on a high schooler or a college player with remaining eligibility, you better be certain he’s going to sign. Very minor difference but we see eye to eye.

              Liked by 1 person

              • junkyardawg41

                The only reason I threw in the future’s market is I don’t think NFL teams are going to commit to a guy unless they are certain. I think when kids declare today, the NFL is certain the player will sign if drafted. Maybe the future’s market is well defined — I just think in order to get NFL ownership to buy in, they have to have some reasonable assurances their pick will not be wasted.

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  5. FlyingPeakDawg

    Thank God our elected officials are spending time, energy and resources on this rather than fiddling with global issues or government programs or IDK…the effects of the pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      That’s not a great argument. They have too much time on their hands as it is. Why not fill it with something worthwhile?

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  6. Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

    It’s not a bad idea on its face, but it needs some major work. Also, the athletes across all college sports should have representation in what is decided.

    Of course, I expect the NCAA to fight tooth and nail against anything that’s a good idea or “not a bad idea” because that is what they do.

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  7. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    The thing that all these NCAA management woes makes me think is: would things have been better if Michael Adams has got the job instead of Emmert? Nah, that’s crazy. I think.

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  8. TripleB

    All the kids need from Congress is two things:

    1- Freedom to go to the NFL if they are good enough- then no-one is being used as forced labor;
    2- NIL rights. Then their economic rights are not being unfairly exploited while THEY make the decision to go to a school and play football.

    With those two changes, the players and their parents can go to the school which gives them the most in exchange for playing football. Nobody has to do be there, and regulations on benefits from the leagues/NCAAF can be implemented to give all the schools somewhat of a fair shot.

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  9. TN Dawg

    “A group of U.S. senators plans to introduce in Congress “a college athletes bill of rights” seeking to guarantee NCAA players monetary compensation, long-term healthcare, lifetime educational scholarships”

    “If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that mid-major schools and P5 programs share the same-sized bank accounts.”

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    • I know you believe that’s a huge own, but these people have had years to prepare for this and instead of being proactive, they chose to double down, stonewall and beg Congress to bail them out for their stubbornness.

      They’re non-profits, so they don’t pay taxes. If the only way they can keep their financial house in order is to balance it on the backs of underpaid labor, then maybe their business model isn’t as solid as you think it is.

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      • TN Dawg

        I don’t think it’s a “huge own”.

        I think you are correct here.

        I definitely think you’ll find numerous “small fry” colleges will have to eliminate sports programs in the face of such legislation

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        • TN Dawg

          I mean you posted the AD P/L statements from NCAA top level colleges a while back.

          Almost half were break even or losing money.

          Add $10,000 a year per player for a football roster, that’s nearly a million bucks for football alone.

          Add in basketball and baseball and other non-revenue sports and it’s likely the salaries of the employees along with the health insurance will definitely break the “business models” of many small schools.

          When you’re costs increase you’ve got a couple of choices, raise prices on your customers or close up shop.

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          • Right.

            I mean, it’s totally inconceivable that you might reduce bloated administrative staff or salaries first. ‘Cause your typical college athletic department is already run like a very tight ship.

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            • TN Dawg

              Something tells me that adding new accounting and payroll activities as well as long-term health insurance programs is not likely to reduce administrative staffing costs.

              If anything, it’s likely to
              increase them.

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