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Collegiate Athlete and Compensation Rights Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 14, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam President, those of you who have taken time out to watch college sports this fall--and I know there are many in this Chamber who have, and they know that the games this year have looked very different when you compare them to previous years' games. A lot has changed for these young players, but they are no less popular with their fans and no less important to the success and prominence of the academic institutions they represent.

For a while now, I have been joined by other members of the Commerce Committee as we have tried to resolve the tension that exists between the NCAA and college sports stars over a student athlete's right to earn compensation for the use of their name, image, or likeness. This is called the NIL issue.

Last week, Senator Wicker, who is chairman of the Commerce Committee, introduced the Collegiate Athlete and Compensation Rights Act, which would finally create a uniform national framework to allow student athletes to receive that compensation without the risk of losing their amateur status and without falling into traps set by dishonest outside parties looking to exploit their fame.

Normally, we don't make too much hay over a bill introduction, but just getting everyone to the table is a first step that student athletes have wanted to see happen for a while. And I thank Chairman Wicker and Senator Moran for backing this legislation.

I do want to point out that the reason the Senate has stepped in is because the NCAA just never could get around to addressing this issue. They kept kicking the can down the road. They kept sending it to one committee and to another committee, and the NCAA has shown very little determination to solve this issue for these young athletes. Because the leadership at the NCAA has proven unable and has shown an inability to address this, we have stepped up to address this issue. Our student athletes deserve more respect than they have been shown by the NCAA.

(Mr. BOOZMAN assumed the Chair.)