Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker to introduce bill that would govern how NCAA athletes make money

Nick Bromberg
·2 min read

We’re one small step closer to NCAA athletes being allowed to make sponsorship and endorsement money.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said Thursday that he would introduce “The College Athlete and Compensation Rights Act.” The bill — if passed into law — would provide a governing framework for the NCAA to allow athletes to make money while in college.

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NCAA athletes are currently barred from making money through sponsorships, autographs or anything that capitalizes on their status as athletes. In a summary of his bill, Wicker said that the Federal Trade Commission would be in charge of figuring out who would be in charge of overseeing athlete compensation.

The bill would “create a uniform, national framework for student athletes to be compensated for the commercial use of their [name, image and likeness].”

Wicker’s announcement comes approximately a month after the NCAA introduced the guidelines it wanted to implement for its new rules allowing athletes to make money.

GREENSBORO, NC - DECEMBER 07: The NCAA logo on the field during the Division III Women's Soccer Championship held at UNCG Soccer Stadium on December 7, 2019 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Messiah College Falcons defeated the William Smith Herons 1-0. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
We're getting closer and closer to the NCAA officially allowing players to get paid. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

NCAA wants federal framework

The NCAA and conferences have been asking the federal government to get involved in figuring out how athlete compensation would work. Colleges and universities want an overarching federal guideline to supersede state laws. States like California and Florida have moved to allow athletes playing in their states to make money via sponsorships and endorsements.

It was logical to think that other states would follow suit. And instead of having to navigate a world of NCAA rules that has to deal with laws that vary from state to state, the NCAA asked the federal government to intervene.

In May, the commissioners of the Power Five conferences wrote a letter to Congress urging it to act on name and image rights. A month later, NCAA commissioner Mark Emmert appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to make a similar request.

In his testimony, Emmert asked Congress for antitrust protection as part of a deal that would provide the NCAA with federal guidelines.

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