The most recent congressional proposal to reshape college sports aims to go far beyond codifying a college athlete’s ability to earn endorsement money.
The College Athlete Bill of Rights, proposed Thursday by co-authors Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would create sweeping changes for college sports, including provisions that would force some schools to share revenue with some of their athletes, guarantee lifetime scholarships to athletes in good academic standing, establish health and safety rules enforced by hefty fines for violators, and set up a fund to cover some out-of-pocket medical expenses for current and former athletes.
The rules and requirements laid out in the bill would be enforced by a newly formed Commission on College Athletics, which would be run by nine board members who are appointed by the president of the United States. They would hire a staff to resolve disputes, suggest changes to rules and investigate wrongdoing with the power to subpoena witnesses. This group, which would receive $50 million in taxpayer funding for its first two years, would take on a lot of the work of policing college sports.
“This is one of the few industries in America that is allowed to exploit those who are responsible for generating most of the revenue,” Booker told ESPN. “I feel like the federal government has a role and responsibility that we’ve been shirking in terms of protecting athletes and ensuring their safety. I just really believe there is an urgency here that has not been met for decades and decades. We need to step up and do something about it.”
They are from the government and they are here to help. And the NCAA, in the process of inviting the camel to stick its nose inside the tent, deserves every bit of unforeseen consequences it gets from its sheer obstinacy.
All this could have been avoided with some proactive effort, but when you’re a maximalist hammer, everything looks like an amateurism nail. Enjoy reaping the whirlwind, fellas.