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Rep. Anthony Gonzalez releases outline of bill to reform college sports

U.S. congressman Anthony Gonzalez has released the pillars of his proposed bill, which will allow college athletes to profit off their name and likeness.

Last October, U.S. congressman Anthony Gonzalez said he would propose national legislation that would open the door for college athletes to earn endorsement money.

Now Gonzalez, who represents Ohio's 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, has revealed the details of his plan.

On Thursday, Gonzalez released a fact sheet that outlined his proposal to reform college sports. In doing so, the former Ohio State standout pointed to five primary pillars, which would create a "national standard on name, image, and likeness" laws for college athletes.

Gonzalez's pillars read as follows:

  1. Preserve the college athletic system that Americans across the country love
  2. Permit student athletes to capitalize on their name, image, and likeness rights in a way that benefits all college athletes in every sport, regardless of division
  3. Federally pre-empt the California law, and other state laws, by creating one uniform standard for name, image, and likeness
  4. Protect student athlete’s status as amateur, ensuring with legal clarity they are not to be considered employees of an institution
  5. Provide sufficient guardrails to protect student athletes from bad actors during the recruiting and transfer process

The topic of paying college athletes -- or at least allowing them to be compensated for their names and likeness -- has been a hot button issue for years, but ramped up last September after California passed a law allowing college athletes to hire agents and to be paid for endorsements and the use of their images. Under the current NCAA laws, athletes who do receive money based on their likeness are subject to violations.

With California's law set to go into effect in 2023 and several other states possessing the potential to soon follow suit, politicians like Gonzalez said that it was necessary for a federal regulation to ensure that all schools and sports were working within the same parameters.

"There must be federal legislation to set one uniform standard and protect the spirit of college athletics for future generations of student athletes," the St. Ignatius grad wrote in his fact sheet.

As a result of California's Fair Pay to Play Act, the NCAA has stated that it will work to provide guidance to student athletes create new rules regarding NIL (name, image likeness) no later than January 2021. Gonzalez, however, has made it clear that he doesn't believe that timeframe is nearly quick enough.

"The NCAA’s timeline is too late for Division I athletes who are already being recruited for the 2023 season," he notes.

You can view Gonzalez's full fact sheet on the matter here.

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