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Notable Details in College Athlete Bill of Rights After Proposal in Congress

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 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. Bank records and other expense reports that are part of a federal probe into college basketball list a wide range of impermissible payments from agents to at least two dozen players or their relatives, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports. Yahoo said Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, that the documents obtained in discovery during the investigation link current players including Michigan State's Miles Bridges, Duke's Wendell Carter and Alabama's Collin Sexton to potential benefits that would be violations of NCAA rules. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

A congressional proposal to create a College Athlete Bill of Rights could create massive changes across NCAA sports if passed, per Dan Murphy of ESPN. 

The 56-page proposal was created by Democratic Senators Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal with the hope of helping student-athletes get paid as well as earn medical care and more.

The most notable inclusion is revenue sharing, which would give athletes in football (both FBS and FCS levels), men's and women's basketball and baseball the right to 50 percent of money remaining after scholarships are paid.

One issue would be the fact that athletic departments often use profits from these teams to help fund other sports at the schools.

Other details are certainly more attainable, including name, image and likeness rights.

The NCAA recently changed its ruling to allow players to profit off their name, image and likeness, although there are still limitations based on the schools' discretion, per Steve Berkowitz of USA Today.

The Senate proposal would allow players to sign endorsement deals and even apparel contracts, as long as they report them to the school and don't interfere with the school's own apparel deals. 

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The Bill of Rights would also permit players to sign agents, who could then secure group-licensing fees. This could help in getting paid for video game likenesses.

Beyond the financial benefits, the latest proposal would also require schools to contribute annually to a medical trust fund to help the athletes while they are in school and for five years afterward. Schools would also be required to cover educational costs through the undergraduate degree as long as the student remains in good standing with a 2.2 GPA or higher.

Another important change could be allowing players to enter professional drafts without losing their eligibility. While sports like baseball allow players to return to school after the draft, football and basketball require players to make their decision beforehand.

This could shake up professional leagues as well as the NCAA, with teams having little certainty whether a player would remain with the organization or go back to school.

All of these changes would be overseen by a newly formed Commission on College Athletics, a nine-member panel featuring at least five former athletes and no university or athletic department administrators.

"This is one of the few industries in America that is allowed to exploit those who are responsible for generating most of the revenue," Booker told ESPN. "I feel like the federal government has a role and responsibility that we've been shirking in terms of protecting athletes and ensuring their safety."

The Supreme Court is set to hear an antitrust case against the NCAA in 2021 that could lead to compensation for student-athletes.

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