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Joe Manchin and Tommy Tuberville introduce bill on name, image and likeness rules for college sports

The bill would require athletes to disclose how much money they make from name, image and likeness deals, regulate collectives and restrict when players can transfer.
Sen. Joe Manchin, left, and Sen. Tommy Tuberville speak at the Capitol
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., introduced the college sports bill.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Sens. Joe Manchin and Tommy Tuberville introduced a college sports bill Tuesday that would require athletes to disclose how much money they make from name, image and likeness deals, regulate collectives and put restrictions on when players can transfer.

The bipartisan action is the second to come out of the Senate in the last week. Democrats Cory Booker (N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), along with Republican Jerry Moran (Kan.) put forth a draft bill of potential legislation to standardize NIL rules and provide long-term health care for college athletes.

Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Tuberville (R-Ala.) have been gathering feedback from college sports stakeholders for months.

“Our bipartisan legislation strikes a balance between protecting the rights of student-athletes and maintaining the integrity of college sports. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to consider this commonsense legislation as a way to level the playing field in college athletics,” Manchin said in a statement.

The Protecting Athletes, Schools, and Sports Act would establish a regulator to oversee agents and collectives, the booster-funded organizations that provide many NIL deals to college athletes. It would also establish a uniform NIL contract for athletes, create a public website to publish NIL data without revealing names of athletes and require contracts to be disclosed within 30 days.

“Student athletes should be able to take advantage of NIL promotional activities without impacting their ability to play collegiate sports,” said Tuberville, the former college football coach. “But we need to ensure the integrity of our higher education system, remain focused on education, and keep the playing field level.

The bill would make it illegal for states to pass laws that permit college athletes to share revenue with schools and conference that generate billions from sports such as major college football and basketball.

NCAA President Charlie Baker called the legislation “a major step in the right direction.”

“There is clearly growing bipartisan interest in taking legislative action to create a stable, sustainable, and equitable foundation for future generations of student-athletes and we are committed to working with all stakeholders to get this done,” Baker said.

PASS would require schools to fund some long-term health care for their athletes. It also would regulate transfer rules, requiring athletes to complete three years of academic eligibility before being able to switch schools and immediately compete.

The NCAA loosened transfer rules in recent years to allow all athletes to change schools and be immediately eligible to play —- no questions asked — one time as an undergraduate.

The combination of relaxed transfer rules and the NCAA lifting its ban on athletes being able to monetize their fame has led to an increase in player movement and concerns about NIL being used as an impermissible inducement to both transfers and high school recruits.

Baker and leaders throughout college sports have been pleading for lawmakers in Washington to pass a federal law to help regulate NIL compensation. The NCAA is also working on a fallback plan, including a meeting this week of an NIL working group that would also include feedback from athletes.

“The recent increase in activity from lawmakers demonstrates the growing consensus that federal NIL legislation is necessary and now is the time to act,” the leaders of the Power Five conferences said in a joint statement. “We will continue working with members of Congress from both parties to develop a federal NIL standard in the coming weeks and months.”