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Volume 26 No. 208
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U.S. Congress Discusses Possible Federal NIL Legislation

U.S. Congress has reconvened for the first time since California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed his state's NIL law, and politicians from both the House of Representatives and the Senate have "met to discuss the best way to move forward," according to Dan Murphy of ESPN.com. U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) spent yesterday "drumming up support for a proposed bill that could make it possible for all U.S. college athletes to accept endorsement money" as early as January '21. The bill would have the "same effect on a national scale" as California's NIL bill. U.S. Sen Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said that he was "committed to finding a better way to compensate college athletes." He added that he "plans to spend at least the next several weeks gathering perspectives from a variety of interested parties to hear their ideas on how best to move forward." Because the proposal is to "alter tax code, its first step through the legislative process would be approval from the Ways and Means Committee before it could be voted on by the full House and Senate." Walker said that he would "like to see those votes occur" by next spring, which would "make the law go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, if it's passed in its current form" (ESPN.com, 10/16).

FEDERAL LEGISLATION: Romney, during a round table discussion hosted by Walker yesterday, said, "I know there are people who think we can hold this off. We're not going to make a change here. But the reality is Congress is going to act." He added, "We're coming for you." Walker said that the NCAA was "invited to participate" in yesterday's 90-minute event, but declined. In Raleigh, Brian Murphy in a front-page piece notes the NCAA has a "working group studying the issue of name, image and likeness rights and is expected to announce its findings by the end of the month." Romney said Walker's bill has a "great deal of merit." However, he said that he would "meet with supporters and opponents of the issue over the next few weeks before deciding what kind of legislation to introduce in the Senate." Last week, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) released a "detailed plan to reform college athletics as part of his presidential campaign." The plan includes "allowing athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness." U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), who is a co-sponsor of Walker's legislation, said, "The NCAA is not an organization that is interested in fairness. They are an organization set up to exploit young men and women for money" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/17).

MATTER OF TIME: In DC, John Feinstein writes the California law is "only a first step, but it is an important one." Already, similar legislation is "being discussed in reportedly 20 to 25 other states." That would "certainly weaken" NCAA President Mark Emmert's "threat to declare ineligible anyone in a state with a law similar to California's." All the "yammering by administrators isn't going to stop this movement from going forward." The NCAA has a "little more than three years to come up with a legitimate proposal to move into the 21st century." That "shouldn't be too difficult" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/17).