Sens. Moran, Blumenthal, Booker Announce Bipartisan Proposal to Protect College Athletes’ Health, Education & Economic Rights
Legislation would establish national name, image & likeness (NIL) standards, provide medical care to injured athletes & prioritize students’ educational opportunities & wellbeing
Jul 20 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today announced a bipartisan discussion draft of legislation to reform college athletics and prioritize athletes’ health, education and economic rights. The College Athletes Protection & Compensation Act would set national standards for name, image, and likeness (NIL), establish a Medical Trust Fund to provide care to injured athletes, prioritize athletes’ educational outcomes and safeguard athletes’ health and wellness.
With student-athletes now able to benefit from NIL and states responding with a patchwork of rules and regulations, the bipartisan framework would set national standards to give athletes the economic and educational opportunities they deserve.
“Kansas has an unparalleled history of college athletics that includes several premier programs attracting student athletes from all over the nation and the world,” said Sen. Moran. “It is no secret that college athletics have grown into an increasingly profitable, billion dollar industry, however the rules surrounding athlete compensation have not been modernized. Together, Sens. Booker, Blumenthal and I are releasing this discussion draft to empower student athletes while maintaining the integrity of college sports that we all know and love. Athletics teach young men and women many valuable skills that serve them throughout their life, and it’s important to protect their ability to pursue an education while allowing them to capitalize on their name, image and likeness as a student athlete.”
“This bipartisan framework is a milestone step forward for college athletes—protecting sports heroes whose blood, sweat and sacrifice drive a multibillion dollar industry,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “They need a level playing field with guarantees of economic opportunities, educational outcomes, and essential health care. For far too long the NCAA and powerful special interests have held sway, putting athletes second to dollars. Athletes deserve national NIL standards, a Medical Trust Fund, scholarship safeguards, protection against mistreatment and abuse, and more. America’s athletes—all 500,000—deserve these basic rights. I thank my colleagues Senators Booker and Moran for all the hard work necessary to reach this milestone.”
“Being a college athlete was one of the greatest gifts of my life – it opened doors of opportunity and offered lessons I carry with me to this day,” said Sen. Booker. “But it also opened my eyes to some deep, systemic injustices in the system – a system that, to this day, continues to put profits over athletes. This bipartisan proposal represents a major step forward, and I’m grateful for the partnership with Senators Blumenthal and Moran. It would make college athletics fairer, safer, and more just, and empower more young people to succeed in sports and beyond.”
Specifically, the College Athletes Protection & Compensation Act would:
- Establish National NIL Standards & Protect Athletes’ Economic Opportunities: The measure would establish the College Athletics Corporation (CAC), a central oversight entity that would set, administer, and enforce rules and standards to protect athletes who enter into endorsement contracts. Athletes would be allowed to have representatives assisting them with contracts, finances, marketing, and brand management, and institutions would be prohibited from punishing athletes for receiving food, rent, medical expenses, insurance, tuition, fees, books, and transportation from a third party.
- Establish a Medical Trust Fund & Cover Injured Athletes’ Out-of-Pocket Costs: Schools and the Medical Trust Fund would cover the out-of-pocket expenses for injuries and other long-term conditions resulting from athletes’ participation in sports. The Trust Fund would cover medical expenses for college athletes diagnosed with significant long-term conditions related to their participation in college athletics, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy and any other traumatic injuries.
- Prioritize Athletes’ Educational Outcomes: Athletes would retain their aid covering tuition, books and other fees until they graduate. Institutions would be required to continue offering the aid in the case of suffering a career-ending injury and being cut from a team.
- Safeguard Athletes’ Health and Wellness: The framework would establish health, wellness, and safety standards to protect college athletes from serious injury, mistreatment, abuse, and death. These standards would focus on conditions such as cardiac health, concussion and traumatic brain injuries, illegal performance enhancers and substance abuse, mental health, overuse injuries, heat-related illnesses, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and interpersonal violence. It would also protect the trainers, physical therapists, and other medical personnel by prohibiting coaches and other nonmedical personnel from attempting to influence or disregard decisions that put athletes’ health and safety first.
- Bring Transparency to College Athletics: Schools would be required to report revenues and expenditures of each athletics program, the average number of hours college athletes spent on college athletic events, and academic outcomes and majors for college athletes.
- Set Athletes Up for Long-Term Success: Athletes would be required to take financial literacy and lifestyle development courses where they would be taught personal budgeting, debt, credit, interest rates, contracts, tax liability and other issues relating to their endorsements and income.
- Ensure Gender Parity in Tournaments: Athletic associations must provide men and women college athletes access to the same facilities and services during tournaments.
Full text of the discussion draft can be found HERE. A one-pager can be found HERE.
The offices of Sens. Moran, Blumenthal and Booker invite stakeholders to submit feedback by August 20 to College_Sports_Comment@blumenthal.senate.gov.
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