Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, ripped the NCAA’s decision to delay a vote on whether to allow college athletes to benefit from publicity rights, saying he was working on legislation to grant college athletes the right to monetize their brand.
“Delaying the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) vote is yet another signal that the NCAA hopes the federal government will save it from having to fairly compensate their athletes. That’s not going to happen,” Murphy wrote in a Wednesday statement. “The college sports industry has a fundamental civil rights issue at the core of its business model, and it’s clear the NCAA doesn’t want to do anything serious to address the inequities that players face.”
The Division I Council failed to meet a self-administered deadline to vote on whether the organization would allow athletes to be compensated, according to ESPN — indefinitely delaying a vote on the proposed rule change.
In December, the Supreme Court agreed to take up a case against the NCAA brought by a former athlete who argued the NCAA’s rules violated antitrust laws.
In 2019, the league committed to allowing students to earn money from their name, image, and likeness after California passed a law requiring colleges to let college athletes earn money from endorsements, saying at the time that it would update its rules in January 2021. However, the league has been resistant to court intervention in its business, arguing that it would be better served by solving problems either internally or through congressional action.
“We’re going to pass NIL and deregulate transfers. That is going to happen,” an NCAA source told ESPN. “There’s just more information-gathering that has to happen, specifically from the DOJ.”
The court is expected to hear the case in the spring and deliver a decision by summer.
Murphy said that his proposed legislation would give students “broad ability” to make money using their name and likeness.
“I’m working on legislation to fix this issue by granting athletes the broad ability to make money off of their likeness, and collectively bargain for additional reforms to the system, and am hopeful it will move in this new Congress,” Murphy wrote.
Some states, including Florida and Nebraska, have passed their own state laws regarding student-athlete compensation that make it illegal for schools to abide by the NCAA’s current policy on NIL rights.