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Congress attempts to tackle NCAA, NIL with new iteration of Athlete Bill of Rights

Photo credit: Associated Press

Capitol Hill is looking to take control of the NCAA’s NIL fire, or so they hope.

On Wednesday, Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) reintroduced a bill granting college athletes the opportunity to unlimited transfers, the option to return to school after declaring for the draft and direct access to lifetime scholarships.

Alongside three other Democratic senators, they filed a new version of the 2020 College Athlete Bill of Rights in Congress, per Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger.

According to the bill, if it’s passed into law, players will be allowed to:

  • Return to college after declaring for the draft as long as they are not compensated and it’s within seven days of the draft.
  • Students can transfer without losing eligibility if: it’s their first time transferring, there is a coaching change, or the athletic director is given notice more than seven days before transferring.
  • States and schools can restrict athletes from entering into endorsement deals with particular industries only if the school prohibited itself from entering into deals within the same industry.
  • The establishment of a medical trust to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses related to any program-related injury.
  • The formation of both health & wellness practices and a financial literacy and life skills programs at all institutions.
  • The formation of a college athletics commission to oversee players well-being’s and enforce rules.

Not only is Booker and Blumenthal looking to get involved, newly elected senator and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tubberville announced he’s looking to regulate NIL on a federal level, something the NCAA has yet to jump on.

These move comes during a time in college sports that has bought on unprecedented realignment, and as recent as late July 2022, the possible formation of a college football players association.

This isn’t a new topic of conversation on Capitol Hill either.

Even prior to NCAA v Alston, the landmark case that launched the NIL era, lawmakers have attempted to pass bills based around both college and professional athletics.

Since 2019, there have been eight bills presented before Congress, all of which failed to gain any major traction.

With mid-term elections coming up in November, the odds of the bill gaining momentum is slim, with the need to gain full democratic support, while not falling into the dust with various other bills congress is attempting to pass.

You can read the entire 69-page proposal here.