The NCAA sought Congress's assistance to thwart the spread of NIL legislation after California passed the Fair Pay to Play Act. The NCAA argued that a patchwork of different bills from different states comprising hundreds of institutions would be unmanageable and present dormant commerce clause concerns. However, in seeking Federal assistance, the NCAA is now staring down far broader and more costly reforms from both major parties in a Presidential election year.
Earlier this week, U.S. Senators held their third hearing on college athletes rights including name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation and whether it will be legislated federally after California and Florida passed laws approving NIL compensation and well over half the nation has similar legislation pending.
The NCAA proposed a restrictive plan roundly criticized by lawmakers for reasons including: athletes cannot sign endorsement deals until they complete their first collegiate semester; schools having veto power over many endorsement deals; and mandatory public disclosure of NIL contracts between athletes and businesses or agents. Democratic Senators Blumenthal and Booker as well as Republican Judiciary Chairperson Lindsey Graham put a broader burden on the NCAA and the Power 5 Conference plan than NIL reform. NCAA President Mark Emmert was criticized for his organization failing to provide healthcare for athletes. This criticism included failing standards for maintaining healthy environments and long-term health insurance.