Federal lawmakers are taking a step forward toward controlling NIL.
A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee told ESPN on Tuesday it will host a hearing to discuss NIL rights on March 29. While no information was provided as to who would testify at the hearing, new NCAA president Charlie Baker will make his first NCAA-related public meeting since his tenure began on March 1.
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Baker, the former governor of Massachusetts, has had plenty of experience on Capitol Hill, and NCAA member schools have urged the new president to lead the efforts in working alongside Congress to help regain control and battle the myriad of legal challenges facing the NCAA.
“I think the conversation with Congress will inform the conversation with membership about this stuff, and vice versa,” Baker told ESPN last month. “I understand and appreciate the difficulties of working something through a legislative process. It’s incredibly complicated.”
Over the past six-plus months, a variety of bills have been proposed by lawmakers across the state level and on Capitol Hill in the Senate focused around topics including collectives — with one particular bill proposed by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) analyzing the taxation of collectives who claim 501(c)(3) status. Other bills include a revisiting of the College Athlete Bill of Rights introduced by Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), as well as various state level bills to revise state NIL policies and give more rights to its student athletes at both the high school and collegiate levels.
The hearing will be led by committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who chairs the subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce.
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In a statement, Rodgers and Bilirakis said they would like to “create a clear set of rules for male and female athletes of every sport to benefit from their name, image and likeness — at both large and small schools in every state — to preserve the future of college athletics.”
“Given that March Madness is upon us, we look forward to holding this timely hearing and reigniting discussions on how we can protect the rights of young athletes across the country,” the joint statement read.
This story will be updated as more details become available.