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Men's Basketball Players Ask Mark Emmert to Approve NIL Rights

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2020, file photo, NCAA President Mark Emmert testifies during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on intercollegiate athlete compensation on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Power Five conferences spent $350,000 on lobbying in the first three months of 2020, more than they had previously spent in any full year, as part of a coordinated effort to influence Congress on legislation affecting the ability of college athletes to earn endorsement money. At the hearing in February, NCAA President Mark Emmert said Congress needs to put “guardrails” on athletes' ability to earn money, in part to protect against potential recruiting abuses and endorsement money being used as a pay-for-play scheme. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

The three men's basketball players who spearheaded the #NotNCAAProperty movement spoke with NCAA president Mark Emmert Thursday about allowing athletes to receive endorsement money as early as the 2021-22 school year, according to ESPN's Dan Murphy

Michigan forward Isaiah Livers, Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon and Rutgers guard Geo Baker said they attempted to get some women's basketball players involved in the meeting but that Emmert declined to expand the meeting. Through a spokesperson, Emmert denied the claim.

"The players say Emmert told them he would 'get back to us' on their request for a blanket waiver for name, image and likeness deals in the coming year," Murphy wrote. "Baker explained that their idea is to fix the problem quickly while also providing flexibility for future changes to those rules as details are debated by state and federal lawmakers, courts and NCAA officials."

The conversation between Emmert and the players came as legislation regarding name, image and likeness compensation for NCAA athletes continues to gather momentum.

The Supreme Court of the United States is also hearing arguments on NCAA v. Alston, an antitrust case that isn't explicitly tied to NIL legislation but could punch a big hole in the NCAA's amateurism model.

CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd wrote Wednesday the NCAA "did not fare well" as some justices posed probing questions and critiques to the organization's representatives.

"Antitrust laws should not be a cover for exploitation of the student-athletes, so that is a concern, an overarching concern here," Justice Brett Kavanaugh said at one point.

Major changes in terms of NIL seemed to become inevitable when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law in September 2019. That law doesn't go into effect until January 2023, though, and NIL is still being weighed on a state-by-state basis.

Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger

You can mark Mississippi and Georgia red on our graphic, pending their governors' signatures, as they join California, Nebraska, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey. https://t.co/qALFLorGxt

In December, a group of senators introduced the College Athletes Bill of Rights, which would, among other things, allow athletes in revenue-generating sports to receive 50 percent of the profits their school receives from the sport in question.

The proposal pursued by Livers, Bohannon and Baker would be a stopgap until more concrete, universal measures are put into place.

Per Murphy, Sen. Richard Blumenthal was critical of Emmert for showing a "lack of leadership," arguing the NCAA doesn't need to wait on Congress before laying out new guidelines regarding NIL compensation. 

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