College Athletes Bill of Rights Proposed Ahead of Possible Federal Legislation

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 13, 2020

FILE - In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball second and third round games. A federal judge in Chicago gave preliminary approval Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, to a reworked head-injury settlement between thousands of former college athletes and the NCAA that includes a $70 million fund to test for brain trauma. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The United States Senate is getting involved in college athletes' efforts to secure greater rights within the NCAA.

Per ESPN's Dan Murphy, Sens. Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal led the creation of the College Athletes Bill of Rights, which is designed to "provide athletes with a larger voice in the rule-making process, stronger health and safety standards, extended access to educational opportunities and more ways to make money."

Booker told Murphy it's "long past time that the NCAA should have acted on these issues" and said the proposed legislation will "obligate the universities to have rules that protect athletes."

One of the key elements of the proposed legislation is a revenue-sharing agreement for the players.

Players of the Pac-12 published an article on the Players' Tribune on Aug. 2 titled "#WeAreUnited" in which they listed a number of demands "to protect and benefit both scholarship and walk-on athletes." One of their demands was to "distribute 50 percent of each sport's total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports."

Other notable points of the College Athletes Bill of Rights announced Thursday are the development of "evidence-based health, safety and wellness standards," providing athletes with comprehensive health care coverage for sports-related injuries and requiring schools to be more transparent with their revenues and expenses related to athletics.

The NCAA board of governors announced in April it supported a rule change that would allow student-athletes to earn money from name, image and likeness rights, with the hope all three divisions will have rules in place by the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

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NCAA President Mark Emmert has sought help from Congress to implement a uniform NIL policy in an effort to avoid different rules for schools based on regulations in individual states.

Per Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger, legislation proposed by the Power Five conferences includes restrictions that prevent athletes from signing endorsement deals until after their first semester in college and allow schools to bar players from endorsements that "violate university standards or that conflict with institutional sponsorship agreements."

According to Murphy, at least 11 senators have signed on to support the College Athletes Bill of Rights.