Senators Joe Manchin and Tommy Tuberville have jointly introduced a college sports bill that aims to address various aspects related to student-athletes and their financial interests. The proposed legislation mandates athletes to disclose their earnings from name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals. Additionally, it seeks to regulate collectives and impose restrictions on player transfers.
This bipartisan effort is the second one to emerge from the Senate in the past week. Democrats Cory Booker (N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) joined hands with Republican Jerry Moran (Kan.) to present a draft bill that aims to standardize NIL rules and provide long-term healthcare for college athletes.
Senators Manchin and Tuberville have diligently gathered feedback from various stakeholders in college sports over the course of several months. Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, emphasized that their bipartisan legislation strikes a crucial balance between safeguarding the rights of student-athletes and preserving the integrity of college sports. He urged his colleagues from both sides of the aisle to seriously consider this pragmatic legislation as a means to level the playing field in college athletics.
Dubbed the “Protecting Athletes, Schools, and Sports Act” (PASS), the proposed bill carries several key provisions. It envisions the establishment of a regulatory body responsible for overseeing agents and collectives, specifically the booster-funded organizations that facilitate numerous NIL deals for college athletes.
The legislation also aims to create a standardized NIL contract for athletes while mandating the publication of NIL data on a public website, without disclosing the names of individual athletes. Moreover, it stipulates that all contracts must be disclosed within a 30-day timeframe.
In addition to these measures, PASS would require educational institutions to contribute to some extent to the long-term health care of their athletes. Furthermore, it would introduce regulations pertaining to player transfers. Under the proposed rules, athletes would be required to fulfill three years of academic eligibility before being allowed to switch schools and compete immediately.
In recent years, the NCAA has eased its transfer rules, permitting all athletes to change schools and become immediately eligible to play, without any restrictions, one time during their undergraduate years. This loosening of transfer rules, coupled with the NCAA’s decision to permit athletes to monetize their fame, has resulted in an increase in player movement and raised concerns about potential misuse of NIL as an impermissible incentive for both transfers and high school recruits.
“The recent increase in activity from lawmakers demonstrates the growing consensus that federal NIL legislation is necessary and now is the time to act,” the leaders of the Power Five conferences stated. “We will continue working with members of Congress from both parties to develop a federal NIL standard in the coming weeks and months.”