WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) penned an op-ed in Outkick about the urgent need for Congress to pass legislation to regulate NIL and protect student-athletes. As a former football coach for 40 years, Coach Tuberville was proud to introduce the Protecting Athletes, Schools, and Sports (PASS) Act alongside Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to preserve the integrity of college football.
Excerpts can be found below and the entire op-ed can be found here.
Earlier this month, college football lost the greatest coach college sports has ever seen: Coach Nick Saban. His retirement was treated with the gravity of a funeral by Alabama fans and by football fans around the country.
Coach Saban’s achievements may never be surpassed: seven National Championships and 11 SEC Championships. I’m proud to call Coach Saban a great friend and a fierce competitor, and I’m also proud to be the only coach to beat Saban four times and one of the only coaches to have a winning record against him.
Coach Saban’s retirement is a big loss for football fans, but the worst may be to come. As Colorado’s Coach Deion Sanders put it, ‘The game has changed so much that it chased the GOAT away.’
Coach Prime is right. Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that student-athletes could be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL), we have been in a brave new world for college athletics.
I support student-athletes making money, but right now there are almost no nationwide rules in place for how this should happen. At least 39 states have passed, proposed, or drafted conflicting laws on this issue, creating an unequal playing field for universities and student-athletes. For example, a school in a state with more restrictive NIL laws is going to have a hard time competing against a school in a state with more lax laws. 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 before. […]
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and I have been working on this for years, and we have a solution that could stop this race to the bottom and save college sports. It’s called the Protecting Athletes, Schools, and Sports (PASS) Act. Our bill would create a single national standard for adapting to NIL in college sports. It would end pay for play and implement a national standard for all NIL deals by creating a uniform contract. It would also require universities to honor the original scholarship made to a student athlete, regardless of their NIL deal status.”
Two years after the Supreme Court ruled student-athletes could be paid for the use of their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL), Coach Tuberville and Sen. Joe Manchin unveiled bipartisan legislation to finally create a national standard for NIL contracts. The PASS Act marks the culmination of a year-long initiative in which the Senators actively engaged with coaches, educators, parents, and student-athletes to create these commonsense guidelines to protect student-athletes and preserve the integrity of college football.
Specifically, the PASS Act would:
- Protect student-athletes by:
- Requiring collectives and boosters to be affiliated with a college or school.
- Establishing a national standard for NIL.
- Preserving Title IX and ensuring that nothing in the PASS Act affects the rights of any student-athletes or any programs funded through Title IX.
- Protect higher education institutions by:
- Ensuring that schools, conferences, and associations are not liable for their efforts to comply with the PASS Act.
- Prohibiting NIL agreements that involve alcohol, drugs, or conflict with existing school and conference licenses.
- Requiring student-athletes to ask permission to make use of existing intellectual property (IP).
- Preserve the future of college sports by prohibiting inducements.
- Improve transparency of NIL activities by:
- Requiring agents and collectives to register with a regulating body.
- Establishing a public-facing website to publish anonymized NIL data.
- Requiring all NIL contracts to be disclosed within 30 days.
- Moderate the Transfer Portal by:
- Requiring student-athletes to complete their first three years of academic eligibility before allowing them to transfer without penalty, subject to a few exceptions.
- Ensure the health and safety of student-athletes by:
- Guaranteeing health insurance for sports-related injuries for uninsured student-athletes for 8 years following graduation from a 4-year institution.
- Requiring institutions generating more than $20 million and $50 million in athletics revenue to pay out-of-pocket expenses for two and four years, respectively.
- Requiring institutions to honor the original scholarship commitment made to a student-athlete.
- Implementing a Uniform Standard Contract for student-athlete use for NIL deals.
- Enhancing curriculum on financial literacy, NIL rights, and related legal and regulatory issues.
- Strengthen enforcement and oversight by directing the NCAA to oversee and investigate NIL activities and report violations to the Federal Trade Commission.
Read more about the PASS Act here.
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.