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Latest NIL bill in Congress proposes no regulation on NIL

Photo credit: NCAA

A new NIL bill introduced by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Representative Lori Trahan (D-MA) seeks to create a law that gives college athletes nearly unlimited freedom to make money from their name, image, and likeness rights.  

The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act differs from several other bills in Congress in that it doesn’t look to set up a governing body or put restrictions on how student-athletes are able to have representation or earn money with NIL. 

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The proposed bill will “Establish an unrestricted federal right for college athletes and prospective college athletes to market the use of their name, image, and likeness — individually and as a group — by prohibiting colleges, conferences, and the NCAA from setting or enforcing rules that restrict this right or otherwise colluding to limit how athletes can use their NIL.”

Other provisions in the bill include:

Athletes can retain any representation they want (lawyers, agents, etc.) without any regulation by the NCAA or conferences.

Requiring NIL collectives to register with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to make sure they don’t discriminate by gender, race, or sport

“Assert robust enforcement for violations by colleges, conferences, or the NCAA in restricting athletes’ NIL rights, notably through asserting per se antitrust penalties, a private right of action for athletes to pursue civil action against violators, and authorizing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to levy ‘unfair or deceptive practice’ penalties.”

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Also notable in this bill is giving international students the same rights to make NIL money without jeopardizing their student visa. This was a big topic in recent years as players like Congolese Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe, could only conduct their NIL business while outside of the U.S. borders.

The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act takes a much more laissez-faire approach to NIL than other bills currently making their way through Congress, like the one proposed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) or the one created by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and former Auburn football coach, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama).