We recently discussed the new legislation put forth by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), the Amateur Athletes Protection and Compensation Act of 2021 — but we left out one of the most important aspects of the bill, which serves to protect young college athletes. The bill was reintroduced earlier this year after it failed to move toward the end of 2020. Moran’s bill is important because it makes several compromises to serve as its foundation, neither taking a hardline nor a softball approach to the controversial subject matter.
The NCAA recently barred athletes from taking third-party endorsements (and the corresponding pay) in an effort to preempt breaking a recent law implemented in California. Moran’s bill would allow such endorsements as long as they are in line with the student code of conduct at the school where they play — which has to be good news for college athletes, who absolutely need that money just to keep up with the bills.
The rub is that athletes can’t sign a deal for compensation from a professional sports league.
We mentioned that the new legislation from Washington DC would allow college athletes to transfer from one school to another without losing their eligibility for these deals — but we forgot to mention they can only do it once under the law’s guidelines.
Moran said, “The Amateur Athletes Protection and Compensation Act would create a national standard of guidelines to make certain student athletes can benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness without hurting their eligibility to compete as a student athlete. Athletics teach young men and women many valuable skills that serve them throughout their life, and it’s important to protect their ability to pursue an education while allowing them to capitalize on their name, image and likeness as a student athlete.”
We don’t expect the bill to make any headway soon because of COVID-19 relief disagreements. The economy has been steadily improving, but there’s still work to do. The legislation certainly won’t move ahead in the first 100 days of the Biden administration.
This is an issue for the NCAA because state laws are advancing at a rapid pace — and without a uniform set of guidelines, it will be hell for the college sports organization to dance from one state’s laws to the next state’s laws. A previous NIL legislation had been expected before Biden was even sworn in, but was delayed due to Alston v. NCAA, which legislators expect to have major consequences on antitrust claims. The NCAA has presented some opposition to more liberal state laws even as it faces blowback for not taking a hardline approach to allowing trans men and women to play on sports teams of the gender with which they identify.