US Senators Announce Bill to Allow NCAA Athletes to Unionize

by Jack McCormick 26

May 30th, 2021 College, News

A pair of senators, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, announced a bill to the House and Senate that would allow athletes to unionize, giving them the ability to organize and collectively bargain with their school or conference.

According to Murphy, this NCAA has historically prevented its athletes from receiving economic benefits, while treating them like “commodities”. If the bill were to be approved, athletes would become considered as employees of the university, meaning they would receive financial aid or other forms of compensation for their participation in collegiate athletics.

The NCAA quickly responded to the bill proposal, issuing a statement saying:

“College athletes are students and not employees of their college or university. This bill would directly undercut the purpose of college: earning a degree. The NCAA and its member schools support student-athletes through scholarships – many of which cover their full cost of education debt free – and numerous other benefits. NCAA members also are committed to modernizing name, image and likeness rules so student-athletes can benefit from those opportunities but not become employees of their school. We will continue to work with members of Congress to focus on issues that align with our priorities. But turning student-athletes into union employees is not the answer.”

Several states have already passed bills that will allow athletes competing within the state to earn money for use of their name, image, and likeness by the NCAA. Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, and Florida have already announced that athletes in each state will be able to profit off of the use of their name-image-likeness beginning on June 1, 2021, while athletes California and Colorado will be able to profit beginning in 2023. In Florida, athletes would be allowed to benefit from their social media, as well as personal businesses and appearances, but only under certain guiding principles.

Just this week, the Texas Senate sent a bill to Governor Greg Abbott for approval that would allow collegiate athletes to receive money via endorsements and sponsorships. Should it be approved, it would take effect a month after the other states, on July 1st.

As individual states have begun to modernize their NIL policies, the NCAA has been much slower to update its rules. The NCAA Board of Governors was set to vote on an updated version of the rules earlier this year, before delaying the vote an undisclosed amount of time. They are currently expected to vote on an updated version of the rules during a meeting at the end of June.

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Sakura Sakura
1 year ago

Don’t the college athletes receive scholarship or free tuition in exchange for playing for their schools?

Xman
Reply to  Sakura Sakura
1 year ago

That’s the misconception. The top athletes do, and at certain schools and in certain sports.

But most programs may not have the funding for this (regardless of football and basketball), and others are limited in how many scholarships they can give out.

Most of the athletes in teams do not receive full tuition. To expand on the above about limits to scholarships, let’s say a team has 9 scholarships. Well you need to have more than 9 athletes in a lot of sports. (IIRC, for swimming you can field 16 for conference and NCAA. But even baseball or softball you don’t cap a team at 9 people, you need significantly more). The solution would be to split the scholarships up,… Read more »

David
1 year ago

If you think this is a positive thing for college Athletics, you are crazy. This sort of nonsense will cause many more program cuts.
Schools may put up with this for Football and Basketball, but the non-revenue sports will not be worth the cost and hassle.

Captain Awesome
Reply to  David
1 year ago

Non-revenue sports are already not worth the cost for an increasing number of colleges. The NCAA, and the universities that take part in its competitions, have made it clear for years that maintaining the revenue stream is their number one priority. Why shouldnt student atheletes be allowed to make it one of their MANY priorities?

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  David
1 year ago

Aren’t most of those huge expenses you cite from boosters/donations and not directly from the school itself? Very few athletic departments are in the black as it is.

MaggieMacNeilWalker
1 year ago

I glanced at the names of the senators involved with this. LOL. Yeah OK.

Anything for another 15 minutes.

He said what?
Reply to  MaggieMacNeilWalker
1 year ago

I did the same. Saw the names and was like, “No surprise.”

swimapologist
Reply to  MaggieMacNeilWalker
1 year ago

Amazing how people who are in favor of athletes being allowed to fight for more money otherwise will suddenly stamp their feet about it because of who proposed the bill.

It’s like you’re so desperate to not be seen as “one of those liberals,” you’ll go against even your own principles.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

What if those principles involved getting paid (in whatever way we deem that “correct”) without going through a union?

swimapologist
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
1 year ago

How’s that working out so far?

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

I mean…that happens quite a bit in the United States. You don’t need a union to get paid in a lot of different sectors.

BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor
1 year ago

People cheering this stuff on don’t care about NCAA swimming. It will die if schools have to pay athletes.

Tomek
1 year ago

In the long run while football and basketball players will get paid more non-revenue sports will be cut…To me football/basketball coaches salaries are the biggest problems, I can understand players frustrations watching coaches making millions in public universities while being shutdown from the revenues stream.

Erik
1 year ago

I’m all for athletes rights, make no mistake.. but I hope they’re already for what could come next.

You’re now employees or are you contractors (1099s)? Are these no longer scholarships, but contracts?

Taxes are involved. Are athletes going to have to front for their own accountants or is it going to be a part of the negotiation process and compensation package as unionized athletes? Do they have to account for team apparel and other things as income?

Are there going to be union dues? Are scholarships (contracts) protected or can you now be fired for poor performance since you’re an employee or can your contract annual and just not be reupped?

I don’t known nothing about nothing,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Erik
Gator
1 year ago

These guys know zero about athletes or college athletics

JP Swi
1 year ago

This is the dumbest idea I have ever heard of