May 6th, 2022 |
116: The Power 5 are Back in Congress to Woo Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) with Gender Equity and Olympic Sports Propaganda
On May 5th, 2022, Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey took to the halls of the Senate to seek “help” from Congress in the form of protective federal legislation that would eliminate the athletes’ rights movement. When it comes to college sports regulation, Cantwell and Blackburn are two of the most influential people in the Senate. Cantwell—a Democrat— is the Chair of the Commerce Committee, which has oversight jurisdiction for college sports issues. Any protective federal legislation from the Senate will originate in Commerce. Blackburn—a Republican—is also on the Commerce Committee. Blackburn’s role is crucial to the P5. She should be a reliable and influential vote for P5 interests; however, Mark Emmert’s arrogance alienated Blackburn from the NCAA/P5 campaign in Congress in 2020 and 2021. With Emmert on the way out, the P5 wants desperately to bring Blackburn back into the fold. This episode analyzes the P5’s reengagement with the Senate and what it says about the state of leadership in college sports. Of particular importance is the P5’s use of false gender equity and “Olympic sports” narratives to persuade the women of the Commerce Committee to P5-friendly legislation.