College Sports’ Power 5 Conference Commissioners to Congress: Help Us!

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues, unemployment comes to escalate and people have taken to the streets in the United States but college sports has a bigger problem than all of that. The Power 5 sports conferences need Congress to help them navigate through a brave new world of student-athletes being able to make money off of their faces and sign deals with marketing partners. The National Collegiate Athletic Association still wants to play by its rules of giving a student-athlete a scholarship and a chance for an education in exchange for using an athletes’ bodies and making money off of those athletes. College officials don’t even know if there will be a 2020 football season but they are looking ahead to a time when there is containment of COVID-19.

The commissioners of the Power 5 conferences sent a letter to Congress begging for help in getting some uniformity and certainty in this brave new world where some athletes will be making money from their faces. California lawmakers led the way that allows student athletes beginning in 2023 to sell their faces. Other states plan to follow suit and that cause college sports organizations problems. There will be a patchwork of different laws across the country and that could play havoc with competitive balance as a star student-athlete could be steered to a school because of marketing opportunities. That is not something the college overseers want. They would have Congress write a national bill that would regulate what the student-athletes could make from marketing partnerships. Pac 12 Commissioenr Larry Scott has concluded that 95% of the money will go to male student-athletes in a free market. He added that will create a “much greater feeling of inequality between men and women three years from now in collegiate athletics.” The days of student-athlete amateurism are coming to an end.

FILE – In this Nov. 30, 2019, file photo, Florida State running back Cam Akers (3) runs for a 50-yard touchdown past Florida linebacker Lacedrick Brunson (34) and defensive back Donovan Stiner (13) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla. Akers was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the NFL football draft Friday, April 24, 2020. (AP Photo/John Raoux)