The College Athletes Bill of Rights was introduced Thursday morning in Congress by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The legislation seeks "fair and equitable compensation" along with better health protections for athletes.
The bill comes at a time during which the NCAA is under pressure to deal with name, image and likeness rights for its athletes while it also must defend its collegiate model in multiple lawsuits. The bill seeks rights and freedoms that go beyond NIL and current NCAA rules.
- Increased compensation: Revenue-generating sports like football and basketball would be required to share 50% of their profits with athletes after the cost of scholarships is subtracted.
- Health and safety standards: Within 120 days of passing of the bill, "industry-leading" protections of athletes would be enacted dealing with head trauma and interpersonal violence.
- Educational opportunities: Athletes' scholarships would be guaranteed "for as many years as it takes them to receive an undergraduate degree".
- Medical trust fund: A fund would be established to cover the out-of-pocket medical expenses for athletes for their college career continuing five years after their eligibility expires.
- Accountability: Annual public reporting would track athletic department revenues, salaries and booster donations. It would also report the number of hours athletes spent on mandatory and volunteer workouts as well as film study and game travel.
- Transfer freedom: Restrictions that currently exist and prevent athletes from transferring would be removed. The NCAA is expected to pass a one-time transfer allowance at its convention next month.
- Commission on College Athletics: The commission would be established to make athletes aware of their new rights associated with the bill.
"As a former college athlete, this issue is personal to me," Booker, a former Stanford wide receiver, said in announcing the bill in August. "The NCAA has failed generations of young men and women even when it comes to their most basic responsibility—keeping the athletes under their charge healthy and safe. The time has come for change. We have an opportunity to do now what should have been done decades ago."