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New NCAA president Charlie Baker calls out ‘big mistake’ previous leadership made regarding NIL rules

Photo credit: NCAA

College athletes making money off their name, image and likeness rights has been a great thing for many. However, because there are no set national rules surrounding NIL, some athletes have also been hurt by the lack of regulation and transparency.

Because of this, college sports officials, from Alabama coach Nick Saban to NCAA president Charlie Baker, are in Washington D.C., to ask Congress for help creating a set of federal guidelines.

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One of the reasons the situation has reached this point is that the NCAA didn’t put NIL rules in place from the beginning, and Baker now admits that the college sports governing body missed the boat on that one.

“I think it was a big mistake by the NCAA not to do a framework around NIL when they had the opportunity to,” Baker said at the Future of College Athletics Summit in Washington, per ESPN. “And I think there were too many people in college sports who thought no rules would work really well for them. And what everybody’s discovered is no rules, no transparency, no accountability, no framework, doesn’t work well for anybody.”

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Baker just took over as NCAA president on March 1, 2023. So, this revelation by the former Governor of Massachusetts is a direct shot at former NCAA president Mark Emmert, who oversaw college sports as NIL was starting.

The powers at be are desperate to get a bill done this year, as the chances of something happening during the election cycle of 2024 will decrease dramatically. If nothing happens soon, Baker admits the NCAA will have to get involved, but the regulations won’t have nearly the same teeth that federal laws would.

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“Congress has the ability to do state preemption. The NCAA sorta, coulda, might be able to do that,” Baker said. “But it’s way more complicated.”

Right now, Baker is looking for a federal registry of deals and more transparent accountability to protect athletes and their families from shady operators. If that happens, he believes, “some of the behavior that’s currently going on up there would change, and that would be a really good thing.”