Tuberville In the News: YELLOWHAMMER: Tuberville: NCAA ‘scared of their shadow’ about NIL issues

Collegiate athletics’ Power 5 conference commissioners offered legislative framework to U.S. Sens. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) last week in an effort to formulate a federal solution to name, image and likeness issues.

Included in the commissioners’ letter to Tuberville and Manchin were policy proposals which consisted of ensuring transparency in NIL deals and providing safeguards for student-athletes.

They offered six pillars to drafting “a fair, and enforceable, federal framework for NIL”:

·       All student-athletes, regardless of their state, have the right to pursue NIL opportunities

·       Disallow boosters to use NIL as a means to entice recruits to play for a program

·       Institute safeguards for student-athletes and appropriate dispute resolution processes regarding NIL licenses

·       Prohibit third parties from obtaining long-term rights to student-athletes’ NIL

·       Ensure student-athletes are earning fair market compensation from NIL deals

·       Provide a “reasonable mechanism” for the disclosure of NIL deals for the sake of transparency

During a Tuesday interview with WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” Tuberville said the framework consisted of “some pretty good ideas.”

“I’ve always been for letting the players make whatever they need to make,” said Tuberville. “What concerns me is they’re able now to transfer without any other obligation at any time. They’ve got a governing board in the NCAA that a bunch of them got together — these athletic directors and commissioners — and they came up with some pretty good ideas.”

Alabama’s junior senator said he and Manchin were placing careful consideration of what will be included in a bill’s final draft.

“What we will do is, my staff and I, along with Joe Manchin, we’ll put some things together and kind of rebut some things they’re doing,” he said. “Because this is the problem: This is not the NCAA. This is not a rule that we’re emplacing. If we do it, this is a law. This will pass the House and Senate, possibly, and then it’ll have to be signed by Joe Biden. And a law is a law.

“Once you make that, it’s set in stone. So we’ve really got to be careful here.”

The NCAA’s lack of involvement in governing NIL, Tuberville said, was due to its concern of being exposed to lawsuits.

“I hate that we had to get involved in this, to be honest with you,” he said. “The NCAA’s just scared of their shadow. They won’t make any decisions because they’re afraid of lawsuits. And that’s the problem in this country right now. People have to stand up and do the right thing. And they haven’t done it so it’s put all these athletics, women’s sports and Olympic sports in harm’s way.”

Tuberville’s assertion regarding the NCAA’s worry of potential lawsuit exposure is similar to sentiments expressed by Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, who blamed “litigation” for the association’s inaction on the issue.