U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) last week led a group of Republicans in requesting that U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership schedule a hearing on state laws allowing for student athletes to capitalize on their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
“Throughout my student athlete experience at The Ohio State University, I advocated for student athletes to have equal treatment as other students on campus — the ability to capitalize on their NIL,” Rep. Gonzalez said. “It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives has so far failed to have any hearings on an issue so important to student athletes and institutions of higher education.”
The NCAA on June 30 approved an interim policy allowing college athletes to profit from the use of their NIL. The next day Rep. Gonzalez and his colleagues sent a letter to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) calling for a hearing on NIL.
“Many of these laws are slated to go into effect today and the House of Representatives has yet to hold any hearings to consider the importance of a federal NIL standard,” Rep. Gonzalez and his five GOP colleagues, who included U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), wrote in a July 1 letter sent to Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Pallone. They asked the committee leaders to immediately consider a hearing on the importance of agreeing to a federal NIL standard.
“The NCAA’s announcement is a momentous step forward, however, we must continue our work in Congress to ensure student athletes do not find themselves facing a convoluted and unfair patchwork of state laws,” said Rep. Gonzalez.
The members wrote that federal legislation must set a uniform national standard and the Energy and Commerce Committee is uniquely positioned to address the issue, which “is centered around fair commercial activity and market involvement for student athletes.”
Three different U.S. Senate committees held hearings on the topic during the previous Congress, while the Senate Commerce Committee last month held two hearings on NIL, according to the lawmakers’ letter.
“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives has so far failed to have any hearings on an issue so important to student athletes and institutions of higher education,” Rep. Gonzalez and his colleagues wrote. “The time for action on this issue is now.”