the BigAmateurism monologues

A series of events over the last 18 months—some unforeseeable—have created a perfect storm that will change college sports forever. The NCAA's bait an…
Aug 7th, 2021 | 52:02

Deconstructing the Most Consequential Era in College Sports History (Part III: The Mark Walker Bill)

As state legislatures in Washington and California began deliberations on name, image, and likeness legislation in late 2018 and early 2019, Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) devised then introduced on March 14, 2019, a bill in House that would have stripped the NCAA of its tax-exempt status unless it permitted NCAA athletes to be “reasonably compensated” for the commercial use of their NIL. Titled the “Student-Athlete Equity Act,” Walker’s bill prohibited the NCAA from “substantially restricting” athletes’ use of NIL in transactions with third-party contractors. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) signed on as co-sponsor. Seven more congressmen (three Republicans and four Democrats) would later join in. Three of the nine are African American. Importantly, all nine co-sponsors represent(ed) states with substantial Power 5 interests (CA, FL, KY, LA, NC, PA, and TX). While the bill was thin on substance—the operative provision was a mere fifty-five words—its’ group of sponsors posed a material threat to the NCAA’s and Power 5’s burgeoning campaign in the Senate to eliminate external regulatory threats to the big-time college sports business model. Walker’s bill never made it out of committee. Still, it was a substantial contributing factor in pushing the NCAA and Power 5 into an aggressive, multi-pronged quest for the Iron Throne of college sports regulation. The Walker bill was an inflection point in the NCAA’s consequential shift from defense to offense in its audacious and historic regulatory power grab.