Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board Holds Hearings on Whether or Not College Athletes Should Be Considered Employees

By Ken Reed

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) yesterday announced a subcommittee legislative hearing titled “NIL Playbook: Proposal to Protect Student Athletes’ Dealmaking Rights.” The hearing is set for January 18th.

“Our top priority is to preserve the future of college athletics with a national standard that sets clear rules of the road for players, agents, and collectives alike,” said Chairs Rodgers and Bilirakis in a release.

A key topic for the hearing will be the Fairness, Accountability, and Integrity in Representation of College Sports Act (FAIR College Sports Act). The FAIR College Sports Act would preempt existing state laws. It would also establish an independent non-governmental organization, called the US Intercollegiate Athletics Commission (USIAC), “to oversee, set rules, enforce, and provide guidance to student athletes and collectives on the NIL process.”

Elsewhere, the National Labor Relations Board is continuing hearings with the goal of answering the question, should college athletes be considered employees? If the answer is yes, it could be the final nail in the coffin for the concept of amateurism in college sports.

The FAIR College Sports Act is trying to do just the opposite: preserve college tradition by keeping some type of amateurism model in place.

Others contend that the amateurism tradition in college sports is unjust and has been for a long time.

“The years of tradition we’re trying to stop is the tradition of exploitation, the tradition of double standards and the tradition of refusing to pay fair market value to employees,” said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, an athlete advocacy group.

Meanwhile, college athletic directors, coaches and athletes continue to operate in a chaotic, Wild Wild West type environment today.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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