NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Drake Group is encouraged that the U.S. Senate Committee on the
Judiciary reviewed issues related to integrity in intercollegiate athletics on July 22, 2020. While the hearing mostly focused on Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights along with various state and federal NIL proposals, there were also important exchanges on COVID-19, concussions, racial disparities, and gambling on college sports.
The Drake Group takes issue with the following positions raised during the hearing:
- Prohibiting the monetization of NIL opportunities during the athlete’s first semester is not educationally justified.
- Mandating that the college athlete stay out of the institution’s sponsorship lane with no NIL employment during the first semester or suggesting that entire sponsorship categories are reserved for the institutions is entirely self-serving.
- The NCAA continuing to enforce amateur status standards and receiving a limited anti-trust exemption to protect it from potential lawsuits is antithetical to athletes’ rights to outside employment. The Drake Group believes that independent third-party administration and transparency are the best regulators of NILs and an unbiased third-party entity must receive an anti-trust exemption and enforcement powers narrowly limited to carry out the instructions of Congress.
- Continuing to pay predominantly white administrators and coaches lavish salaries, failing to protect athlete health and well-being (e.g., payment of all athletic injury related-medical costs, insurance, and long-term disability) and failing to provide of a real education (e.g. five-year guaranteed scholarships, grants for graduate education, etc.) cannot continue.
- NILs would only benefit a few male star athletes. While market forces will result in star male and female athletes receiving more money than lesser-known athletes, many lesser-known athletes will benefit because they are stars in their own communities or will bring their aggregated social media lists into the internet marketplace to be monetized by commercial entities.
- Maintaining that giving college athletes NIL rights would result in Title IX non-compliance is false unless the institution intentionally treats one sex better than the other in specific ways. This concern is being raised as a red herring – a convenient but invalid justification for restraining athletes outside employment.
- Institutions will lose their sponsorship deals and with less revenue will cut or spend less on women’s sports. If the institution chooses to cut programs, Title IX will require that men’s and women’s sports suffer equally. The institution’s first response to lower revenues should be to eliminate waste and inefficiencies, the building of lavish facilities, and other excessive expenditures.
The Drake Group urges the Judiciary Committee to continue to work toward better college athlete economic outcomes and reject the current self-serving athlete-restrictive NCAA and institutional proposals that would continue the unfair limitation of college athletes outside employment.
Click here to read the full Drake position statement on these issues.