SEC’s Greg Sankey, Pac-12′s George Kliavkoff Look To Congress For NIL Help

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The time has come for answers on how to regulate the ongoing Name, Image, Likeness problem that has taken over the college athletics world. On Thursday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff made their way to Washington to address the ongoing matter.

UPDATE: Senator Marsha Blackburn has released a statement on today’s meeting with Greg Sankey and George Kliavkoff.

“For far too long, the NCAA has refused to allow student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image, likeness (NIL). NCAA President Mark Emmert’s resignation is one of many necessary structural changes that will enable the NCAA to support our student-athletes. During my meeting with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and others today, I continued to push for the accountability and fairness measures our student-athletes deserve,” said Senator Blackburn.

The pair headed to Capitol Hill and met with senators to discuss federal legislation that could govern name, image and likeness rights for college athletes. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) were on the list of scheduled meetings for the two Power Five commissioners.

Since the start of NIL last July, many believed that athletes would be able to profit off their likeness once they enrolled at a particular school and began their collegiate clock. But what we’ve seen over the last few months has brought some college leaders and coaches into a panic, mainly because of the “pay-for-play” loopholes that some have found within the broad NIL rules the NCAA established.

The NCAA has taken a lot of heat for all the chaos, and rightfully so, seeing that they allowed NIL to become a part of the game without laying any type of parameters regarding booster involvement and recruitment. Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has even started to throw out ultimatums to convince the NCAA to move with urgency.

Kliavkoff told ESPN: “Either the NCAA is going to get its act together in enforcing this, or I’m going to be pushing for a smaller group to figure out how to create and enforce the NIL rules that we all agree on related to inducement and pay-for-play. The amount of an NIL payment should be commensurate with the work done as a backstop to make sure we’re not using it related to inducement and pay-for-play.”

The main problem that has arisen from the new NIL platform is how it is being used when it come to high school recruitment and the transfer portal. Across the country, collectives, or reps for a potential player, are now making six or seven figure deals on behalf of some recruits.

Some lawmakers would also like to see these student-athletes be classified as employees of the school, which could actually happen down the road. Pac-12’s George Kliavkoff brought this up as one of the reasons for meeting with lawmakers.

“I have been invited to meetings with several senators tomorrow to discuss the issues we’re seeing with name, image and likeness, and with the existential threat of our student-athletes being deemed to be employees,” Kliavkoff told ESPN.

As we have seen over the last year, states have now become one of the main contributors, passing their own laws for how NIL should be enforced. However, this has opened up the can of worms even further because booster groups have now gotten involved in the recruitment process and the transfer portal.

It is a long shot for lawmakers to get anything done in the next year, but this won’t stop the NCAA from creating new regulations when it comes to how much NIL involvement boosters can have.

The more likely outcome will be that the NCAA puts out new guidelines in the next few weeks that will limit some of the actions that are currently being taken by college boosters.

Either way, Sankey and Kliavkoff took it to Capitol Hill, so they are clearly looking for any type of help they can get.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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