Click here to view a video of Senator Fischer’s questions. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At today’s Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection hearing, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) questioned witnesses about efforts to create new rules that compensate college athletes for commercial use of their names, images, and likenesses without unintentionally harming competiveness for Nebraska’s colleges, student-athlete recruitment, or women’s athletic programs.

Witnesses included Mr. Bob Bowlsby, Commissioner, Big 12 Conference; Mr. Mark Emmert, President, National Collegiate Athletic Association; Dr. Douglas Girod, Chancellor, University of Kansas; Mr. Ramogi Huma, Executive Director, National College Players Association; and Mr. Kendall Spencer, Chair, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association.

More information on the hearing:

Although the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allows colleges to give student-athletes scholarships based on athletic ability, an amateur college athlete cannot receive outside monetary benefits from intercollegiate sports participation under current NCAA rulesHowever, the NCAA brings in significant revenue annually – $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2017 – and states have begun to develop legislation to appropriately compensate athletes.

In September of last year, California passed a new law to prohibit in-state colleges from denying student-athletes the ability to receive compensation for use of their name, image, and likeness. NIL typically involves third-party commercial entities paying student-athletes to promote company services or products.

Currently, the NCAA has formed a working group of student-athletes, university presidents, conference commissioners, and athletic directors to review how to address and consistently implement NIL. The group will issue their recommendations later this year, with new rules scheduled for January 2021. Should NIL become delayed at the state level, there may be some Congressional action needed in the future to promote consistent fairness for competition across state lines.