WASHINGTON, D.C. — The latest college sports congressional legislation would require collectives managing name, image and likeness (NIL) money to submit contact details for school donors who contribute, or risk “perjury.”
An updated discussion draft of Rep. Gus Bilirakis’ NIL bill, obtained by Yahoo Sports, prohibits collectives from entering into NIL deals with athletes until they are enrolled in school for 90 days, outlaws tampering with other teams’ athletes and creates a public-facing database of figures from NIL deals across college sports.
In maybe the most interesting and unique section of the FAIR College Sports Act, the draft targets collectives, requiring them to register with an independent third party responsible for overseeing NIL called the United States Intercollegiate Athletic Committee (USIAC). As part of the registration process, collectives would have to disclose their registry of donors.
Under penalty of perjury, the draft states, collectives are expected to provide the following in the application process with the USIAC: “The name and contact information of any donor who contributed to the fund.”
Other provisions in the draft are similar to many NIL bills already introduced, including the preemption of state NIL laws. The draft does not address the employment issue, a central concept included in other pieces of legislation.
In other concepts, the act would:
- prohibit agents from signing agreements with athletes until the player has spent 45 days enrolled in school.
- provide a website for the public to report NIL violations.
- permit schools to ban athletes from NIL agreements with entities focused on gambling, tobacco, vaping, alcohol, controlled substance, lewd and lascivious behavior; and any other product deemed to be “inconsistent with the religious values of an institution.” However, schools that prohibit such actions may not enter an agreement with those companies themselves.
- creates the 21-member USIAC to oversee NIL, mostly approving agents, third parties and collectives through a registration system.
- permits the NCAA and conferences to (1) establish rules consistent with the act, (2) enforce them, (3) declare ineligible athletes who violate them and (4) withhold one or more revenue shares from schools that violate the act.
- protects the USIAC from liability and provides a safe harbor for the Federal Trade Commission in potentially enforcing the act.
Bilirakis’ bill is one that many college leaders have championed as having real momentum to advance through the Republican-led House of Representatives. Bilirakis is the chairman of the Innovation, Data and Commerce Subcommittee, a group that held the last NIL hearing in the spring and one that likely has authority over NIL legislation.
The legislation is more narrow in scope, which some have described as a “skinny” NIL bill that Democrats may find problematic. The draft is one of several pieces of legislation or would-be bills circulating on the hill. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced an NIL bill last month. In the same week, Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) also announced their own bipartisan effort. Sens. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have a bill, too.
Over the last four years, more than a dozen pieces of college athlete legislation has been introduced, and there have been eight hearings on the matter. No bill has even taken the initial step to passage.
Time is not on anyone’s side. College leaders were hoping to push through legislation this fall before the presidential election season, when congressional action normally comes to a crawl.
The next month is a significant time for any bill movement. Senators return Tuesday from their annual month-long summer break.
A divide has grown between Republicans and Democrats on both the concepts and scope of a college athlete bill. While conservatives want a more narrow bill granting NCAA protections, Democrats want broad legislation touching a variety of subjects and granting more freedoms to athletes.