Senators send letters to NCAA leaders with NIL questions

RALPH D. RUSSO
Associated Press

The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee has sent a letter to NCAA leaders, conferences and schools requesting details about how college athletes can be compensated for their names, images and likenesses.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., sent 20 questions to each Power Five conference, dozens of colleges and universities and committees at each of the NCAA’s three divisions.

He wrote: “The committee seeks to gain a better understanding of the current system for compensating student-athletes and to hear a range of perspectives on this complex issue.”

Wicker's letter comes a day after Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., released a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert urging the association to take further action on name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes.

Last week, the NCAA Board of Governors signed off on recommendations to allow college athletes that opportunity to make money from personal endorsement deals and for activities like autograph signings and personal appearances.

The NCAA will begin the process of turning those recommendations into legislation that could go into effect for the 2021-22 academic year. The NCAA has also asked Congress for some federal protections to help ward off lawmakers in about 30 states who are pushing their own bills regarding compensation for name, image and likeness.

Lawmakers have already voiced skepticism about the NCAA putting so-called guardrails on compensation rules.

Murphy and Booker called the NCAA's framework for NIL compensation “a step forward and a step back.”

Murphy has said any congressional protection from the NCAA should be part of broad reforms to college sports and not limited to just name, image and likeness issues.

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