College Athlete Bill of Rights would require revenue sharing, cover medical expenses

Democrat Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (Ct.) proposed a “College Athlete Bill of Rights” on Thursday that would cover all student-athlete medical expenses and a revenue-sharing arrangement for the players.

The bill proposed by the lawmakers would require some schools to develop concrete health and safety rules with steep fines if they fall short.

In addition, under the bill, any athletes whose sports generate more revenue than goes into scholarships for the sport would be entitled to 50 percent of the balance.

The proposal would also create a nine-person commission, appointed by the president of the United States, to enforce its rules, according to ESPN. 

The proposal is the latest effort by the federal government to address student-athlete rights and compensation, and comes one day after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a dispute over whether National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) rules on student athlete compensation violate antitrust law. 

Five similar proposals have also been introduced in Congress, including one from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) that would allow collegiate athletes to profit from their own names, images and likenesses (NIL).

The NCAA is set to vote separately in January about whether to amend its rules to allow athletes to profit from their NIL.

The bill would allow state governments to bar student athletes from endorsing some industries or products, such as gambling, but only if the prohibition applied equally to the universities themselves.

“This is one of the few industries in America that is allowed to exploit those who are responsible for generating most of the revenue,” Booker told ESPN.

“I feel like the federal government has a role and responsibility that we’ve been shirking in terms of protecting athletes and ensuring their safety,” he added. “I just really believe there is an urgency here that has not been met for decades and decades. We need to step up and do something about it.”


Blumenthal said the creation of an enforcement mechanism like the board in his and Booker’s bill is necessary to meaningfully enforce any proposals, telling ESPN any reforms are an “effectively dead letter” without one.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that using this framework, we can build support for real substantive changes in how the NCAA operates,” Booker told ESPN.

Tags Cory Booker Roger Wicker

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