Senators frustrated by NCAA's 'striking hypocrisy' in failure to act on athletes' benefits

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Senators frustrated by NCAA's 'striking hypocrisy' in failure to act on athletes' benefits

Sens. Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal said Democrats’ control of Congress and impending control of the White House enhance the likelihood that c

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Sens. Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal said Democrats’ control of Congress and impending control of the White House enhance the likelihood that college sports will see changes in benefits for athletes that go beyond them having an enhanced ability to make money from the use of their names, images and likenesses.

During separate interviews with USA TODAY Sports, Booker and Blumenthal sharply criticized NCAA governing groups’ decisions this week to delay votes on proposed rules changes regarding athletes’ ability to transfer and to make money from the use of their names, images and likenesses (NIL).

They said it further reinforced their belief that Congress needs to get involved – and in more than NIL.

“The first thing I see in their delay is a striking hypocrisy,” Booker said. “Their argument for some time has (been) ‘Hey, Government, just give us the authority. We can police ourselves in these issues.’ And they have failed to do it. … So, I am moving to do what I believe is in the best interest of college athletes. … And I believe that after failure after failure of the NCAA to address these issues, we have an opportunity to finally make them the law of the land.”

NCAA governing groups decided this week to delay votes on proposed rules changes regarding athletes’ ability to transfer and to make money from the use of their names, images and likenesses.

Said Blumenthal: “Frankly, the delay and dithering by the NCAA seems to reflect a lack of urgency and caring. Maybe that perception is overly harsh, but that’s the perception.”

Near the end of the recently concluded Congressional session, Booker and Blumenthal introduced a bill that would have been much more expansive on NIL than the NCAA’s current proposal would be. The Booker-Blumenthal bill also would have provided a far greater range of other benefits and protections for athletes than were in NIL bills offered last year by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and the team of Reps. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, and Emanuel Cleaver, R-Mo.

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