Morning Sun

SEC, Pac-12 leaders to push for NIL law in D.C.

- By Ralph D. Russo

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. » The commission­ers of the Southeaste­rn Conference and Pac-12 are scheduled to meet with lawmakers in Washington on Thursday to lobby for federal legislatio­n to regulate name, image and likeness compensati­on to athletes.

Greg Sankey of the SEC and George Kliavkoff of the Pac-12 plan to meet with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-wash.), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-tenn.) and other lawmakers, a person who has been briefed on the commission­ers’ trip to Capitol Hill told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because neither conference was making the lobbying efforts public. Sports Illustrate­d first reported the planned visit.

The commission­ers of two of the five wealthiest conference­s want to lay out the negative ramificati­ons on college sports and athletes if the status quo remains unchanged when it comes to NIL compensati­on. They also plan to present a framework for a possible solution.

The NCAA lifted its ban on athletes earning money for endorsemen­t and sponsorshi­p deals last year, but with no detailed and uniform rules in place. Left practicall­y unregulate­d, NIL has quickly become intertwine­d with recruiting with millions of dollars suddenly available to athletes from well-heeled donors.

Coaches and administra­tors are concerned that booster funded organizati­ons have been luring recruits and all but transferri­ng athletes to their schools with payments that are recruiting inducement­s in disguise as NIL deals.

The commission­ers also plan to detail the potential damage that would be done to the majority of college athletes if those who play in the highprofil­e sports of football and men’s basketball were deemed employees of the universiti­es and required to be paid. The NCAA and its member schools have long opposed the idea of paying athletes.

The Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12 were among the major college football conference­s holding spring meetings at the same resort in Arizona this week.

In an interview earlier Wednesday with the AP, Kliavkoff said the commission­ers of the Power Five conference­s

were obligated to take a leadership role in shaping the future of college sports during a turbulent time.

“I believe that all of us agree on the idea that NIL is a good thing and that student athletes should be able to earn money using their name, image and likeness,” Kliavkoff said. “I think we all agree that there should be a few very definitive limitation­s on that to prevent schools from buying kids or pay-for-play. And I think there’s alignment (among commission­ers) that we believe in the collegiate model, and we think a finding by anyone that our student-athletes are employees is an existentia­l threat to the collegiate model.”

 ?? ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO ?? Alabama coach Nick Saban watches players warm up for the College Football Playoff championsh­ip NCAA football game against Georgia on Jan. 10, in Indianapol­is. Saban is concerned about the current state of college football. He recently told The Associated Press “I don’t think what we’re doing right now is a sustainabl­e model.”
ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO Alabama coach Nick Saban watches players warm up for the College Football Playoff championsh­ip NCAA football game against Georgia on Jan. 10, in Indianapol­is. Saban is concerned about the current state of college football. He recently told The Associated Press “I don’t think what we’re doing right now is a sustainabl­e model.”

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