Category Archives: Political Wankery

Does Congress want to get into the “doing it for the kids” business?

Sounds like somebody there does.

A discussion draft of a bill that would establish a federal regulatory NIL body was revealed Tuesday by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida) exclusively to CBS Sports.

The Fairness Accountability and Integrity in Representation of College Sports Act (FAIR College Sports Act) would preempt all existing and future state NIL laws, a limitation currently being sought for Congress to address by the NCAA.

Bilirakis is a member of the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee. In that role, he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce, which has already conducted two NIL hearings.

A discussion draft is considered the next public step in the legislative process.

Beyond creating a federal regulatory body to address NIL, the suggested legislation would:

  • Protect athletes’ rights to earn NIL compensation and sign with agents. (The NCAA allows for a limited scope of NIL benefits and currently allows athletes to have agents for NIL marketing purposes only.)
  • Ban “pay-for-play” by prohibiting boosters, collectives and other third parties from “offering inducements to attend or transfer” to specific institutions.
  • Require registration within 30 days for agents, boosters and collectives when NIL deals are signed.

On the plus side, the bill is limited in important regards.  There’s nothing about medical benefits for college athletes in it, for example.  More significantly, the bill does not “address athletes’ potential employee status nor establish liability protections for schools or the NCAA itself. House sources say such protections would be out of the body’s jurisdiction at the moment.”  To that extent, it neatly calls the NCAA’s bluff about how federal NIL regulation is the biggest issue, when we all know what they really want is antitrust exemption status.

That being said, what the bill does is substitute the toothlessness of the NCAA with regard to NIL enforcement with criminal liability.

A commission board of directors would be appointed by Congressional leaders. The board would be made up of student-athletes and various conference and NCAA division leaders. A chairman would be elected by a majority of the board.

Any entity found to be in violation of the bill’s regulations would be “appropriately disciplined.” The USIAC would leave enforcement up to “existing agencies,” including state attorneys general (for agents and third parties). The NCAA would still oversee wrongdoing by athletes.

Hoo, boy.  Can’t wait to see if this has any legs to it.



Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

The NCAA tries to dodge another bullet.

The hits just keep on coming.

The National Labor Relations Board’s Los Angeles office on Thursday issued a complaint against the NCAA, the Pac-12 Conference and the University of Southern California, alleging they have unlawfully misclassified college athletes as “student-athletes” rather than employees.

The action — which applies to athletes in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball — means that the NCAA, Pac-12 and USC will face a hearing before an administrative law judge on Nov. 7.

At that hearing, NLRB’s general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo will be seeking an order requiring those three entities to “reclassify the Players as employees rather than as ‘student-athletes’ in their files, including, but not limited to, their handbooks and rules, and notify all current Players that they have done so,” according to the complaint, which was issued under the National Labor Relations Act.

Note that the complaint isn’t simply filed against a school, but against a school, the conference to which it belongs and the NCAA.  That’s a big deal.

Thursday’s complaint alleges that the NCAA, Pac-12 and USC have been joint employers of the athletes because the NCAA and Pac-12 had control over the athletes’ working conditions and “administered a common labor policy” with USC regarding those conditions. As an example, the complaint cited excerpts from the USC athletics department’s Student-Athlete Handbook and its Social Media Policy & Guidelines for Student Athletes, which set a variety of rules that athletes must follow.

The joint-employer approach is significant because it could result in the case ultimately applying not only to athletes at private schools — which are subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) — but also to athletes at public schools, said Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program and Tulane University’s associate provost for NCAA compliance.

“What the joint-employer theory does is it eliminates the public-private distinction, and it makes every college athlete covered under the NLRA,” Feldman said. “We are potentially one step closer to college athletes having the right to unionize and collectively bargain over their wages, hours and other conditions of employment. …That can’t be overstated.”

Note that the process here is lengthy and can be appealed to the federal courts, which is what I expect the NCAA to do if it comes up short… while they continue to scramble in Congress begging for an antitrust exemption.  Stay tuned.


Filed under The NCAA, Political Wankery

“It is critical that we remain at the forefront of Name, Image and Likeness.”

That’s not some random fan on a message board saying that.  It’s Josh Brooks and this is what he has in mind with regard to that.

The Bulldogs have formed an in-house NIL department, elevating Tanner Potts to director of NIL and strategic initiatives. A Georgia law school graduate with compliance experience with the Bulldogs, he will manage an NIL program that’s on track to double the number of deals for athletes over year to year.

The expansion and focus on NIL do not stop there. Georgia has expanded its relationship with Altius Sports Partners, tabbing the firm to hire and support an athlete marketing manager to work with Potts. The marketing manager will work with athletes and brands to cultivate relationships and open NIL opportunities for players. Altius is scheduled to make the hire by July.

The speed at which this has come to fruition is dizzying.  Remember, HB 617, the law that let the NIL camel’s nose into the tent, was signed by Kemp less than two years ago.  And you may also recall it was a fairly timid attempt.

All this tells you is that Kirby Smart has a firm grasp on how important NIL is to recruiting these days.  And that this is happening without a peep from the legislature tells you something, too.


Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Arkansas to the NCAA: you’re not the boss of me!

Uh, this seems pretty aggressive.

One question:  what exactly could the state do in reponse to the NCAA imposing penalties on a player or school?


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Lock ’em up!

While we’re on the subject of Florida legislation, here’s something of note making its way through the process:

Sports fans in Florida may soon have reason to think twice about storming the field or court after their favorite college team pulls off a big win. Multiple bills that would criminalize court-storming and field-storming have been introduced in the Florida state legislature, according to WCTV in Tallahassee.

One of the bills, SB 764, which is also titled the “Interference with Sporting or Entertainment Events” bill, was introduced by Republican Senator Corey Simon — a former Florida State football star. If SB 764 passes, it would make entering a “covered area” in a stadium or arena a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalty for breaking that law would carry up to a year in jail or a $2,500 fine

The bill defines a “covered area” as “any area designated for use by players, coaches, officials, performers, or personnel administering a covered event that is on, or adjacent to, the area of performance or play.” The bill can be read in its entirety here.

Not only would court-storming be penalized, but anyone who throws, drops or tosses objects into the “covered area” would also be criminalized.

A nearly identical bill, HB 319, has been introduced by Republican Representative Taylor Yarkosky in the House of Representatives. If either of the bills pass their respective bodies and get signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the new laws would take effect on Oct. 1.

I question the practicality of enforcement, but, hey, anything that could lead to the mass arrests of Gator fans isn’t a bad thing in my book.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Political Wankery

Tortious interference

Interesting tidbit from Florida’s latest NIL law, per Andy Staples ($$):

The new version also establishes liability protection for coaches so that decisions such as benching or suspending a player don’t open the coach to a lawsuit because the decision affected the player’s NIL deals.

I’d love to know if this just came out of some legislator’s fever dream, or if there really is a coach or AD who lobbied for this.  If it’s the latter, I’d love to know the who and why behind it.  On the one hand, it’s a dumb scenario, but on the other… what if there were a coach who actually wanted to do that for that express purpose?


Filed under College Football, Political Wankery

Today, in “we can’t compete with what our competitors in other states can do at this point”

Florida tweaks its NIL law.

The state of Florida’s name, image and likeness (NIL) amendment has cleared its last legislative hurdle and will now be sent to the desk of governor Ron DeSantis, whose signature is expected as early as Friday or sometime next week, according to sources. The amended law will go into effect once DeSantis signs it.

The main change, spearheaded by state representative Chip LaMarca and state senator Travis Hutson, is the removal of so-called cause compensation language that will allow for schools to more directly facilitate deals. Previously, schools were not allowed to be seen causing cash to be directed to athletes. The original thought behind it was to protect coaches’ time, but functionally it created red tape and confusion as schools tried to navigate what was permissible.

A source at one school gives Sports Illustrated an example of an athlete sending an email to a representative of a collective regarding a deal and cc’ing their coach on it because they didn’t know any better. It created some ambiguity about what exactly was and wasn’t permissible and if the deal could be done at all.

“This allows us to become a little more officially official with the university,” says Corey Staniscia, head of USF’s Fowler Ave collective and a former aide for LaMarca’s. “There’s a lot more flexibility when it comes to coordinating and having conversations with staff and administration in a way that we were restricted before.”

Well, good for them, I guess.  Why was this needed?  I think you know why.

Florida’s initial NIL legislation was drafted at the end of 2019 and wormed its way through the legislative process in early ’20. Florida is one of multiple early adopters that felt some buyer’s remorse. Alabama fully repealed its law, while Nevada is working to amend its own currently. Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois and Louisiana have previously amended their law. Lawmakers were unable to get significant movement on Florida’s NIL bill in the ’22 legislative session with leadership focused on other issues, but under new Speaker of the Florida House Paul Renner, there was an appetite to take on the NIL issue once more. The alignment allowed the law to fly through the process before the state’s legislative session even begins.

“It’s a priority of this current leadership in the House and Senate and it’s definitely a priority of our governor,” LaMarca says. “I think when we’re all on the same page on something it’s clear that we can get things done. It’s important the date and the timing means that Florida will remain competitive. That’s why we wanted to get it off the agenda now and move on to other business after this.”

SEC speed, baby!

The hilarious thing is these guys are still hoping Congress pulls the NCAA’s nuts out of the fire by passing national legislation.  At some point, it’s going to dawn on everyone that the only realistic way to shut down NIL abuse is to start paying the players directly.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Optics, NCAA style

Matt Brown makes a clever point here:

If you’re in “Help us, Obi Wan Congress, you’re our only hope” mode, you’ve got to appear hapless, don’t you?  If you show you’ve got the power to clean up NLI abuse, what do you need the politicians for?


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

“It certainly doesn’t smell right.”

Just when you think collectives can’t be any more corrupt, along comes this news:

The Nevada Senate Education Committee sponsored Senate Bill No. 70, which was pre-filed Monday and referred to the Committee on Education with the potential to revise the state’s name, image and likeness legislation. If passed, the bill would make high-value NIL disclosures public and provide Secretary of State Francisco “Cisco” Aguilar with the bill’s enforcement capabilities.

“Well,” you might say, “that sounds pretty typical.  What’s the big deal?”

Glad you asked.

However, the authority proposed under the bill raises questions about potential or perceived conflicts of interest. Aguilar is a founder of the Las Vegas-based company Blueprint Sports.

Blueprint Sports’ website says it “powers the industry’s leading name, image and likeness (NIL) collectives for alumni, supporters, businesses and fans of student-athletes at their favorite universities.”

Blueprint supports at least 13 NIL collectives. They include Friends of The Pack at Nevada and Friends of UNILV at UNLV, which operate in the state of Nevada.

Aguilar, who was elected in 2022 and who took office on Jan. 2, would have the ability to investigate potential NIL violations under the cloak of confidentiality, issue subpoenas and impose sanctions.

Ah, Nevada.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Bipartisanship at work

One (championship) ring to rule them all, one (championship) ring to find them, One (championship) ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them… at least there’s still something that unites.


Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery