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 3rd, 2023 | 1:19:33

Did Booker and Blumenthal Hang a U-Turn on Athletes’ Rights?

On July 20th, 2023, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) released a discussion draft of a bill titled “College Athletes Protection and Compensation Act of 2023.” The bill is largely a cut-and-paste job from Moran’s 2021 bill, the “Amateur College Athletes Protection and Compensation Act of 2021” and Booker/Blumenthal’s 2020 bill, the “College Athletes Bill of Rights” (rereleased in 2022). The Moran bill gave the NCAA and Power 5 everything they wanted to obtain regulatory supremacy in college sports and, in the process, end the athletes’ rights movement. The Booker/Blumenthal bills were an equal and opposite counterweight to Moran’s bill and others like it introduced by NCAA/Power 5-friendly Republican Senators. Booker and Blumenthal built their legislation around a civil rights philosophy, particularly the financial and educational exploitation of African American Power 5 football and men’s basketball players. On the crucial question of who will sit on the Iron Throne of college sports regulation, Moran and Booker/Blumenthal have been on opposite sides of the earth. Both would use a federal corporation to oversee the college sports issues covered by the legislation. However, Moran would require that NCAA and Power 5 insiders run the federal corporation, replicating the NCAA bureaucracy with the protections and powers of the federal government. Booker and Blumenthal would exclude those decision-makers from involvement with the federal corporation and instead rely on athletes and experts in relevant fields. The new “compromise” bill not only jettisons Booker’s and Blumenthal’s civil rights focus but also adopts Moran’s NCAA/Power 5 governance model for the federal corporation. Perhaps most surprisingly, the new bill would grant the NCAA subpoena power to wreak havoc in its infractions and enforcement operations. This episode analyzes the new bill and what it may mean for Congressional action and perhaps the future of athletes’ rights.