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March 29, 2023 is set to be a big day for the future of college sports and the landscape of NIL. The Congressional House Energy and Commerce Committee scheduled a hearing on the Name, Image and Likeness rights of collegiate athletes later this month.
It is the first step toward a complete overhaul of NIL on a national level.
The committee spokesperson did not provide any additional information about who might be asked to testify at the hearing. Nor did he offer any insight into what the format will look like.
The hearing will be led by two Republicans: Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington and Representative Gus Bilirakis of Florida. The former is the House Energy and Commerce committee chair, the latter chairs the subcommittee of Innovation, Data and Commerce.
They released a joint statement regarding the hearing. The committee hopes to “create a clear set of rules for male and female athletes of every sport to benefit from their name, image and likeness — at both large and small schools in every state — to preserve the future of college athletics.”
Congress will review NIL, but don’t hold your breath.
March 29th’s hearing will mark the first since former Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker took over as president of the NCAA at the start of the month. NCAA member schools have reportedly expressed desire for Baker to get control over NIL.
Given that March Madness is upon us we look forward to holding this timely hearing and reigniting discussions on how we can protect the rights of young athletes across the country.— Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Representative Gus Bilirakis in a joint statement
This hearing will be the first step toward NIL regulation, assuming it takes place as planned. And history shows that even a hearing may not be of any help.
Committees from both the House and Senate held hearings on the future of college sports in 2021. Neither produced any movement toward new federal legislation.
More than six different federal bills have been proposed by lawmakers in the last three years. Some of them had to do with NIL, others didn’t. None of them made any lasting impact.
Perhaps the hearing on March 29 will end with a different outcome? Maybe?