Jun 19, 2020 - Sports

The latest on national legislation to pay student athletes

Reproduced from Student Player; Cartogram: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Student Player; Cartogram: Axios Visuals

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would require the NCAA to change its rules by June 2021 regarding athletes' ability to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL), while also protecting the NCAA from legal challenges to the new regulations.

The big picture: The NCAA is fearful that state-by-state action will lead to competitive unbalance and chaos and is hoping to work with Congress on passing national legislation, so they predictably endorsed Rubio's bill.

What they're saying: "We can't have 50 separate laws. It will destroy college athletics," Rubio said in a video posted to Twitter.

The backdrop: The bill comes six days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis passed a law that will allow athletes in the state to profit off their NIL starting in July 2021. California and Colorado passed similar laws that go into effect in 2023.

The other side: Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said he's glad Rubio introduced legislation, but Murphy cautioned against putting too much emphasis on the interest of the NCAA and placing the fate of endorsement deals in their hands.

What's next: There is already a bill in Congress on this topic from Rep. Mark Walker (R.-N.C.), and there is another one coming in the next few weeks from Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio). It's a mess — but the tide is turning.

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