This one is bi-partisan and tries to split the baby down the middle, which likely means it’ll be attacked on both sides. Summarized as follows:
The bill, obtained by Sports Illustrated, is more player-friendly than the legislation introduced earlier this summer by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). However, the Gonzalez legislation satisfies several NCAA requests, the most noteworthy of which are preemption and restriction. The bill preempts all state NIL laws and restricts athletes from entering endorsement deals with several companies, including those associated with alcohol, tobacco or vaping, marijuana or drug dispensaries and sellers, and casinos/gambling facilities.
It does not, however, prevent an athlete from endorsing a product that might conflict with a school’s own endorsement deals—something the NCAA includes in its own drafted legislation. It also does not grant the NCAA antitrust protections from lawsuits arising over NIL—another NCAA request.
While the bill doesn’t restrict player endorsements, it does it allow schools to prohibit athletes from wearing marks of companies during athletic activity and at any other university event.
The part I really don’t like relates to enforcement.
The bill also amends the Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act to include a definition of “boosters,” and details actions taken by boosters in the recruiting process that would be penalized through Federal Trade enforcement. “It is unlawful for a booster to directly or indirectly provide or offer to provide any funds or thing of value as an inducement for a student athlete to enroll or remain at a specific institution or group of institutions,” the bill reads.
I’ve got no issue with hammering boosters for abusing players’ NIL rights, but using government power to enforce NCAA rules shouldn’t be the way to go about doing so.
In any event, the most important takeaway is that the clock continues to run on the Florida law taking effect.
Many believe that a federal NIL bill won’t move through Capitol Hill until next year, when a new Congress takes control, one that could look different after the November elections.
“It most likely bleeds into next year,” Gonzalez says. “Right now, Congress is still just learning about this issue. We have a pandemic we’re working through.”
Gonzalez’s bill is only one of what could be a half-dozen versions of federal NIL legislation. Several lawmakers are in various stages of drafting their own law, which is expected to begin the legislative process in the Senate Commerce Committee.
I doubt that meets with the NCAA’s timetable. That’s a shame.