ICYMI: Tuberville in Daily Caller: Stop The Foul Play With March Madness

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) penned an op-ed for the Daily Caller about his bill to standardize Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals and save college sports. In his op-ed, Coach Tuberville argues that March Madness will fundamentally change if NIL issues aren’t addressed.

Excerpts can be found below and the entire op-ed can be found here.

“March Madness has begun—one of the greatest traditions in sports. Alabama is proud to be home to six teams competing in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. While I’ll be rooting hard for my Auburn Tigers, I’m concerned that this may be the last March Madness as we know it.

“Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that student-athletes can make money, college sports have been in a tailspin.  I spent 40 years as a coach, an educator, and a mentor, and I fully support student-athletes making money. But there have to be rules—and right now there are almost no national rules for Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) endorsement contracts.

“At least 39 states have passed, proposed, or drafted laws–often conflicting–on this issue. This has created an unequal playing field for universities and student-athletes. Schools in states with more restrictive NIL laws will struggle to compete against schools in states with more lax laws. The result will be a race to the bottom.

“If Congress does not act, then one state—or a handful of states—will dictate the rules to the rest of the country, which is what we’ve seen happen in other areas of law.

“As a result of this new landscape, college sports have turned into the Wild West, with bidding wars for the most talented athletes now starting with freshmen in high school. It will soon be impossible for any coach to build or preserve a team, knowing that his best players are likely to enter the transfer portal at the drop of a hat. Every player is now a free agent every year. This is at odds with some of the best lessons learned on the field—hard work, loyalty, and team over self.

‘This new age of NIL deals will also destroy the comradery between our players. Michael Jordan is considered one of the greatest of all time not just because of his God-given abilities, but because he was a leader who made his teammates better on the court. To create a positive team environment, student-athletes need to be able to trust the teammate playing next to them. That’s hard to do if you don’t know who will show up to practice tomorrow.

“It gets worse. Earlier this month, Dartmouth’s men’s basketball team voted to unionize. If this idea catches on players will be able to hold their coaches hostage. We may even see players go on strike before big games—with games even being cancelled as a result. If that happens, television revenues, which are used to fund the vast majority of college sports, will tank and college athletics as we know it will be over.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.