NC Congressman to Introduce Bill To Allow NCAA Athletes to Profit

North Carolina Congressman Mark Walker has declared his intentions to introduce the Student-Athlete Equity Act, which would allow NCAA student athletes to profit from the use of their name, likeness and image.

If approved, the bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and change the definition of a qualified amateur sports organization in the tax code.

The bill does not call on universities to pay student-athletes, but would instead open the doors for student-athletes to accept money from third-party sponsors.

“Signing on with a university, if you’re a student-athlete, should not be [a] moratorium on your rights as an individual. This is the time and the moment to be able to push back and defend the rights of these young adults,” said Walker, reports News & Observer.

“Here’s the thing: We’re not asking the university, we’re not asking the NCAA to pay a single dollar into this. You’ve done your part offering a full scholarship. Just don’t restrict the rest of it,” continued Walker.

A former collegiate athlete himself, Walker has said he is open to considering restrictions or guidelines, but does not believe the current all-or-nothing policy is fair.

Walker represents the 6th Congressional District of North Carolina, which includes the city of Greensboro, a popular host city for collegiate and professional sporting events alike. The nationally-renowned Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC) is a long-time host for both the men’s and women’s ACC Championships for swimming & diving , as well as the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships throughout Divisions I, II, and III. Furthermore, Greensboro is also home to the ACC Hall of Champions and ACC Headquarters.

In 2018, Olympic gold medalists Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel both stepped away from illustrious NCAA careers to accept sponsorships from third-party brands. Despite going pro, both have remained with the Stanford swim team and are continuing with their educations. Swimming two or three years as an NCAA athlete only to turn pro half-way through an Olympic quad is relatively common among top collegiate swimmers–particularly those that already have Olympic experience, world records, or both.

It is difficult to gauge whether this bill would keep more athletes in the NCAA until their four years of eligibility is run out. Though swimming and diving are much different from other sports like football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, in that most professional swimmers who represent Team USA train with collegiate pro groups. The other big-ticket sports actually require athletes to join another team and physically move to a new city to train and compete. However, the purpose of the proposed legislation is not to recruit NCAA student-athletes away from their universities, but rather to give them the means to begin professional careers before graduation.

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1 year ago

Ground breaking.

Tongue in Cheek
1 year ago

Open this door and you get the IRS involved to report income, as well as have workman’s comp and other insurance issues. Think of the bigger picture

Not a fan. There are numerous kids out there (who are a second slower) that would be happy to come of of college debt free! Just saying.

Reply to  Tongue in Cheek
1 year ago

I’m not sure I understand your concerns in your first sentence… would you elaborate?
and this won’t affect the ability of slower swimmers to receive scholarships, so I’m also unclear on the relevance of the second part of your comment.

Foreign Embassy
Reply to  eagleswim
1 year ago

It wouldn’t have any bearing on ncaa scholarships allegedly. This, by definition, changes the “amateur athlete” status and could create even more scandals with money and scholarships. Could also potentially create conflicts with apparel sponsorship ie a team is sponsored by speedo but the athlete is sponsored by tyr. I say keep student athletes amateur.

1 year ago

This sounds good to me. I don’t see a downside.

Reply to  FormerLonghorn
1 year ago

Um… this opens the door again for the old ‘no-show’ summer jobs where a booster pays the athletes directly….

Reply to  Hola
1 year ago

Then why not change the rules to let people be open about it? I frankly don’t see the harm in a booster using his own money to encourage a kid to go to his school of choice by throwing him a couple bucks.

Require disclosure and that a portion of the money goes to tuition (thus saving the university money or opening up a scholarship for another athlete).

Reply to  Gordo
1 year ago

I’ll take that the next step. Why do we or the NCAA need to know who is paying them. Agents, boosters, whatever. Sign a contract with whoever. We don’t ask the great trombone players to reject money while they are going to UCLA

Steve Nolan
1 year ago

Excited to read all the reason this will ruin amateurism.

Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 year ago

I think the U of Miami football team (and others) tried this back in the 80’s. It didn’t work out as well as you might think.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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