By Steve Kelly
The Power 5 conference commissioners are asking Congress to pass legislation regarding compensation for college athletes.
The commissioners of the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences sent a letter dated May 23 to congressional leaders, as first reported by Stadium. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter yesterday.
The letter was signed by John Swofford of the ACC, Bob Bowlsby of the Big 12, Kevin Warren of the Big Ten, Larry Scott of the Pac-12 and Greg Sankey of the SEC.
They encouraged federal lawmakers not to wait for the NCAA process to play out before passing a national law that would set parameters for college athletes to be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses (NIL).
“I don’t think it’s indicative of anything other than our belief that the five of us bring substantial equity to college athletics and that our brands are strong,” Bowlsby said Friday during a conference call with reporters.
Last month, the NCAA’s board of governors signed off on recommendations that would make it permissible for college athletes to make money for personal endorsements, appearances and sponsorship deals that are currently against the rules. The board acted after California passed a law clearing the way for athlete compensation that takes effect in 2023; other state laws are set to take effect earlier than that.
The NCAA hopes to have legislative proposals crafted by November and ready to be voted on in January. Even with that, NCAA leaders have acknowledged the need for congressional help and a national standard that would ward off a wave of state-level NIL laws that are in the pipeline.