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.
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