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US Senators continue to push NIL collectives with potential legislation

Tommy Tuberville
Photo credit: Courtesy of Tommy Tuberville

Radical change may be coming to NIL collectives thanks to Capitol Hill.

As ongoing legislation regarding NIL is in the works, Senators Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have asked 30 of the top NIL collectives across the country for feedback in response to those who challenge the creation and independent involvement at colleges across the country.

In a letter sent to the collectives, Tuberville mentioned that over 70% of stakeholders he’s spoken with have recommended that future legislation “addresses the issue of whether and how to regulate, control, or ban collectives.”

Many respondents gave opinions on ways to monitor NIL.

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Some advocated for further protection of women’s sports, proposing that requirements be put in place to create equity among male and female athletes when it comes to handing out NIL deals, similar to Title IX requirements on college campuses.

Another recommendation from stakeholders was a penalty structure to keep collectives in check, as well as regulations to provide transparency in the process.

Over the past year, hundreds of NIL collectives have sprouted across college campuses, many operating independently from the schools they represent. More often than not these collectives consist of prominent boosters, famous alumni and former athletes, and fans who want to give directly to teams.

These collectives operate as nonprofits and hold 501(c) or 501(c)3 designations, the latter allowing the collective to be tax-exempt, therefore consistently maintaining a revenue stream to give to their schools. 

The potential result, which many are concerned is happening, is these collectives are fighting to gain the most funds in order to lure athletes to their school with the promise of significant compensation.

While many collectives do have student athletes provide charity work in exchange for compensation, that may not always be the case. The Matador Club, a collective in support of Texas Tech, signed 100 football players to a $25,000 base salary with no expectations set.

One stakeholder replied to Tuberville, defining a collective as a “thinly-veiled pay-for-play model” that “damages the integrity of the collegiate athletic model, but more importantly eats away at the credibility and integrity of many fine institutions across the country.” The stakeholder added that, “legislation should be put into place to restore the balance so an institution can protect its student athletes and fan base from schemes.”

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Tuberville and Manchin have yet to introduce their legislation to Congress, but their intentions for a bipartisan bill comes in conjunction with the re-introduction of the student athletes bill of rights by Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in early August.

Over eight pieces of NIL legislation have been introduced in congress so far, and that number expects to grow as Capitol Hill continues to ignite change and take control before things take a turn for the worse.