Many sports analysts have likened the NIL era of college athletics to the Wild West. Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly wants to bring the federal government in to reign it back in. A new NIL legislation bill could make the life of Wisconsin Badgers student-athletes more difficult.
Prestigious college head football coaches like Nick Saban have voiced their opposition to the NIL, citing that using the name, image, and likeness in recruiting would be dangerous to the longevity of college athletics.
The NIL has undoubtedly impacted recruitment, as the most influential schools in the country essentially buy the best players. And athletes who get paid for their services on the field love it, as we’ve seen with the Wisconsin Badgers. But the NCAA, which oversees more than Power 5 programs, has lost a lot of power in the past few years and will likely lose more.
Sen. Lindsey Graham drafts NIL legislation
According to a report by On3, Graham has drafted a piece of legislation that would help give more power back to the NCAA and less to the athletes. The bill would create a NIL clearinghouse that would have a say over the name, image, and likeness of athletes. The clearinghouse would include a provision for having an antitrust exemption. It would also have the power to sue, fine, or ban any athlete or coach from college athletics. How would that help our athletes in Madison?
Essentially, this creepy legislation would take more bargaining power away from the athletes. Schools would reserve the right to tell student-athletes who they could or could not do business with:
“The purpose behind the NIL clearinghouse would be to monitor compliance, establish and enforce penalties and provide educational information to athletes. The legislation provides some protections to athletes, including prohibiting institutions from limiting playing time or making changes to scholarships as retaliation for an NIL deal. Yet, universities would have the power to prohibit their athletes from entering into agreements that would violate state law or the student conduct code.
Institutions would also have the right to, “provide each enrolled student-athlete a list of entities” athletes would be prohibited from entering business relationships with. The clearinghouse would provide any information to the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice or the attorney general of any state.”
This is just a drafted bill at this moment. It’s unclear if Graham could find a way to get this bill passed anytime soon. Many comments on social media have reacted negatively to the drafted legislation.
1. Not sure if y’all saw Lindsay Graham having to get explained things about NIL. I’m just sure I want him drawing up shit.
2. If done right it could be a great tool.
3. Banning someone from college athletics on a capitalist business transaction?
This is a nothing burger? https://t.co/Zteu8Muxty
— AYS Sports (@AYSSPORTS) May 19, 2023
This is a poor bill to pass
While the NIL isn’t perfect, this type of NIL legislation will hurt Wisconsin Badgers student-athletes. I understand the transfer portal is causing many problems for many teams during this transitional phase, but that’s not a reason to rush into poor legislation. And I’ve never heard Saban argue that coaches shouldn’t be allowed transfer to any school if their contract is bought out or that there should be a cap on how much they or their staff is compensated for a season.
These proponents of capitalism, like Graham and Saban, should be all for protecting contract law. Ensuring that there are enforceable contracts relating to the NIL would make a lot more sense than giving more power back to the federal government.
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