A federal law governing how college athletes can earn money off their fame seems like a certainty. There is no real debate among lawmakers on Capitol Hill about whether college athletes should be permitted to monetize their name, image and likeness. 18 states, including Missouri, have either passed or have Name, Image & Likeness laws in the works.
But less than a month before NIL laws go into effect in several states, NCAA President Mark Emmert was back in Washington renewing his plea for help from Congress.
"However well intentioned the multiplicity of state laws are, they confuse rather than clarify the NIL landscape," said Emmert.
Emmert encouraged lawmakers to create a single solution from the federal level.
"We urge that any federal NIL bill include five key elements," said Emmert on Wednesday. "First of all, we obviously seek, as we all seem to agree to, a uniform national model under which students can benefit financially from the use of their NIL."
Emmert also stressed a need to comply with Title IX, the federal law that protects equal access to college athletics regardless of gender.
"Any provisions in this bill have to also support Title IX protections across all sports and provide for fair opportunities regardless of gender," said Emmert.
"Thirdly, we all recognize the need for preemption of state laws to provide the kind of consistency we all want across the country. And fourth, we need to safeguard the non-employment status of student athletes to maintain the core principles of collegiate athletics. And finally, as we have also heard, we seek a limited safe harbor protection to all NIL opportunities to proceed without schools being under constant threat of serial litigation."
The NCAA is working on its own rules to govern the NIL situation but Emmert testified on Wednesday that those regulations may take until the end of June to pass. Those NCAA rules may also conflict with state laws in some cases.