Power 5 Commissioners Ask Congress to Set NIL Laws, Not Wait for NCAA

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 29, 2020

FILE - In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is displayed at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball tournament. NCAA President Mark Emmert says NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will be played without fans in the arenas because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Commissioners from the Power Five conferences are asking for Congress to set laws enabling student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness rather than waiting on approval from the NCAA. 

In a letter from the commissioners obtained by Brett McMurphy of Stadium, they ask Congress to "support legislation providing a single, national standard for NIL that would protect student-athletes, provide economic opportunity, and promote academics":

Brett McMurphy @Brett_McMurphy

In 3-page letter, obtained by @Stadium, Power 5 league commissioners ask Congress to “enact clear national policy on NIL & not wait for NCAA process to conclude” & “so there will be uniform national standard that will preempt state NIL laws. ... time is of the essence.” https://t.co/VbaRCHTGXL

The NCAA board of governors announced in April its support for a rule change that would allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements "related to and separate from athletics."

On the board's recommendation, the NCAA rules-making structure in all three divisions will go over the proposal with the expectation the NIL rule will be adopted in January and put into effect starting with the 2021-22 academic year. 

The commissioners' letter noted they "agree with the NCAA on some points related to NIL, our impression is that members of Congress are most interested in hearing the views of the universities in their home states, as well as those of the conferences to which these institutions belong."

The letter also noted that "time is of the essence" because "in the absence of federal NIL legislation...most if not all states" will pass their own unique NIL laws that will go into effect in the summer of 2021. 

Last September, California became the first state to pass a bill making it easier for student-athletes to profit off their likeness.