Legislation sponsored by Moran aims to compensate amateur student athletes

Amateur student athletes would be allowed to profit from their name, image and likeness under legislation sponsored on Feb. 24 by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS).

“It is no secret that college athletics has grown into an increasingly profitable, billion-dollar industry,” Sen. Moran said, “however the rules surrounding athlete compensation have not been modernized.”  

The senator introduced the Amateur Athletes Protection and Compensation Act of 2021, S. 414, which would provide standards related to compensation for the use of the names, images and likenesses (NIL) of amateur intercollegiate athletes and to provide such athletes with certain protections, according to the congressional record bill summary.

Nearly 30 states have introduced legislation on athlete compensation, said Sen. Moran, who noted that collectively, these bills “could lead to a confusing system of inconsistent state laws that would be cumbersome for schools and athletes to navigate.”

Sen. Moran’s bill instead would create a national standard of guidelines to ensure student athletes benefit from the use of their NIL without hurting their eligibility to compete as a student athlete.

“This bill strikes an appropriate balance as we work to empower amateur athletes while maintaining the integrity of college sports that we all know and love,” Sen. Moran added. “Athletics teach young men and women many valuable skills that serve them throughout their life, and it’s important to protect their ability to pursue an education while allowing them to capitalize on their name, image and likeness as a student athlete.”

Specifically, S. 414 would prohibit the NCAA, athletic conferences or schools from rendering an amateur intercollegiate athlete ineligible on the basis of entering into a contract or receiving covered compensation, according to summaries provided by Sen. Moran’s office.

Additionally, S. 414 would provide additional protection to athletes by requiring institutions to cover the healthcare costs related to athletic injuries or illnesses, as well as honor any grant-in-aid for the duration of the time it takes the athlete to finish their undergraduate degree, the summaries say.

The Amateur Intercollegiate Athletics Corporation also would be created under S. 414 to set and enforce rules pertaining to NIL, among other provisions.

The measure has been referred to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for consideration.