Ru­bio in­tro­duces bill to push NCAA changes

Times Standard (Eureka) - - SPORTS - By Ralph D. Russo

Florida Sen. Marco Ru­bio in­tro­duced a bill Thurs­day that would pro­tect the NCAA from be­ing chal­lenged in court if the as­so­ci­a­tion changes its rules to al­low ath­letes to earn money for en­dorse­ment deals and per­sonal ap­pear­ances.

Ear­lier this week, the NCAA was hit with a fed­eral an­titrust law­suit seek­ing dam­ages for cur­rent and former ath­letes that could cost the as­so­ci­a­tion mil­lions. The law­suit also seeks to pre­vent the NCAA from reg­u­lat­ing the ways ath­letes can be com­pen­sated for use of their names, images and like­nesses.

Ru­bio’s Fair­ness in Col­le­giate Ath­let­ics Act also comes six days af­ter Florida Gov. Ron DeSan­tis signed into a law a bill that would open up that mar­ket for col­lege ath­letes in the state. That law goes into ef­fect July 2021. Cal­i­for­nia and Colorado have passed sim­i­lar laws that go into ef­fect in 2023. The NCAA is seek­ing help from Congress as more states push for­ward with their own NIL bills.

“We can’t have 50 sep­a­rate laws. It will de­stroy col­lege ath­let­ics,” Ru­bio, a Repub­li­can, said in a video posted to Twit­ter.

The bill gives the NCAA un­til June 2021 to have new rules in place that will su­per­sede states laws. The NCAA is al­ready work­ing on those re­forms, with a tar­get date on Jan­uary to have leg­is­la­tion its mem­ber schools can vote on.

“We look for­ward to col­lab­o­rat­ing with our elected of­fi­cials to af­fect the nec­es­sary change,” Big 12 Com­mis­sioner Bob Bowlsby said in a state­ment.

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