By Ken Reed
Led by senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a group of U.S. senators is working on comprehensive legislation that would help college athletes in numerous ways. They are calling the prospective legislation a college athletes bill of rights.
The senators outlined their bill in a statement released on Thursday. The bill would allow college athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses (NILs), lead to ‘revenue-sharing agreements’ with the NCAA, conferences and schools, create new safety and wellness standards, enhance athlete health care, develop programs to improve educational outcomes, and would remove the NCAA requirement that athletes have to sit out a year if they change schools or withdraw from a National Letter of Intent.
“We have to create a system that clearly the NCAA has not been willing to do on its own,” said Booker, a former Stanford football player.
“We’re talking to a lot of athletes who have painful stories. These are courageous young people who right now are speaking out — and often facing retribution for speaking out — about their basic rights.”
The new initiative to create a college athletes Bill of Rights is being pushed by a committee of Democrat senators, including Chris Murphy of Conn. and V.P. nominee Kamala Harris of California. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is also part of the effort.
When completed, Booker and Blumenthal said the bill will call for a “permanent commission” — made up of current and former athletes, along with various other experts — “to give athletes a meaningful voice” in NCAA rules-making and policy matters.
“We can’t return to business as usual—where a multi-billion dollar industry lines the pockets of predominately white executives all while majority-Black athletes can’t profit from their labor,” said Murphy. … “This isn’t radical thinking — it’s just the right thing to do.”
It’s been the right thing to do for decades. Let’s hope that this time this group of senators can get it done.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon