The NCAA has released a statement on the Gonzalez-Cleaver bill, following the bill’s induction into Congress.
The bill, known as the “Student Athlete Level Playing Field Act” is formally sponsored by Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), a former Ohio State University and NFL player, and Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).
Under the bill, student-athletes would be allowed to receive money for the commercial use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL), prohibiting universities and the NCAA from barring them from participating in athletics.
In its statement, released Thursday morning, the NCAA said, “We greatly appreciate U.S. Reps. Gonzalez and Cleaver’s collaboration to sponsor bipartisan legislation to strengthen the college athlete experience. We look forward to working together with both representatives, their co-sponsors and other members of Congress to further establish a legal and legislative environment where our schools can continue to support student-athletes within the context of higher education.”
The proposed bill appeases several NCAA requests, including a section barring student-athletes from signing endorsements with companies associated with alcohol, tobacco, vaping, marijuana, drug dispensaries or sellers, casinos and gambling facilities, and adult entertainment.
However, it does not meet the NCAA-requested policy that would prohibit students from endorsing a product that might conflict with a school’s own endorsement deals or a section that would provide the NCAA with protection against antitrust lawsuits.
The NCAA formally requested that national legislation regarding the NIL policy be implemented following a recent rise in states passing their own NIL policies. Currently, five states (California, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska and New Jersey) have passed their own NIL laws, with Florida’s being the first to be enacted beginning in July 2021.
As a part of its response, the NCAA has also taken its own steps to craft its own legislation on the topic, which is expected to be completed in late October and officially passed in January.