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Chairman Moran’s Opening Statement on the State of Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, with jurisdiction over amateur athletes – today gave opening remarks at his hearing titled “Name, Image, and Likeness: The State of Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation.” This hearing examined how student-athletes are currently restricted from profiting from their name, image, or likeness to supplement current scholarship and benefits they receive.

“Understanding how state and federal laws and regulations on name, image, and likeness of student athletes would affect the existing intercollegiate athletic system is critical in shaping Congress’ efforts on this issue,” said Chairman Moran. “Some of complexities surrounding this issue include the use of third party agents, the possible elimination of athletic programs, current definitions of amateurism, and allowable incentives made available to today’s college athletes. As we will hear today, college athletics teaches young men and women many values and skills that serve them throughout their life, but the most important aspect is that they are first, a student-athlete.”

Click Here to Watch Chairman Moran’s Full Remarks

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning. As the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, with jurisdiction over amateur athletics, I welcome you all to today’s hearing titled ‘Name, Image, and Likeness: The State of Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation.’ The Subcommittee will come to order.

“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses, including the Chancellor from my alma mater, the University of Kansas, the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the commissioner of the Big 12, and two former student-athletes.

“In Kansas, we have a rich history of college athletics. The University of Kansas won 14 straight Big 12 men’s basketball titles and the women’s soccer team just won their first Big 12 title last year. In my hometown of Manhattan, Bill Snyder revolutionized college football at Kansas State University – a legacy that has been continued by current coach Chris Klieman and Athletic Director Gene Taylor. And who can forget Wichita State’s Cinderella run in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2013. In addition, Kansas City was the national headquarters for the NCAA for 45 years before they moved to Indianapolis. 

“While Division I schools often come to mind, we must not lose sight of the over one thousand colleges and universities across all three divisions included in NCAA.

“In Kansas, we have impressive Division II athletics at Fort Hays State, Pitt State – who won four D2 Titles (most recently in 2011) – Emporia State, Newman, and Washburn.

“Altogether, there are nearly 500,000 student-athletes that compete in 24 different sports. The NCAA’s considerable financial restrictions tied to amateur athlete eligibility has gained national media attention and heated debates in recent years. Specifically, how student-athletes are currently restricted from profiting from their name, image, or likeness to supplement the current scholarships and related benefits they receive.

“These debates have resulted in state legislatures taking their own actions. In California, the Fair Pay to Play Act was signed into law last September and will prohibit California universities and colleges from preventing their student athletes from gaining compensation for the use of their name, image, or likeness from third parties. Coming into effect in 2023, the law will also allow student athletes in California to hire agents and other representation. 

“Following suit, legislation has been introduced in over 20 other states, with more expected to follow, raising concerns of the ability of a nationwide organization to function within a system of differing state laws and provisions.

“Last May, the NCAA began to take steps to address the debate around student athletes potentially profiting from their name, image and likeness by appointing a working group to examine potential modifications that still allow a clear demarcation between professional and amateur athletes and ensure they are still aligned with the general student body. The working group is expected to issue recommendations later this year with new rules scheduled to be implemented in 2021.

“Understanding how state and federal laws and regulations on name, image, and likeness of student athletes would affect the existing intercollegiate athletic system is critical in shaping Congress’ efforts on this issue. Some of complexities surrounding this issue include the use of third party agents, the possible elimination of athletic programs, current definitions of amateurism, and allowable incentives made available to today’s college athletes.

“As we will hear today, college athletics teaches young men and women many values and skills that serve them throughout their life, but the most important aspect is that they are first, a student-athlete. NCAA student-athletes have a considerably higher graduation rate than non-athletes, which is significant, because less than 2 percent of student-athletes go on to be professional athletes. 

“It is important that actions taken by Congress do not harm the education, health, and well-being of student-athletes.

“Joining us today to provide a variety of different perspectives on this issue is:

  • Mr. Bob Bowlsby, Commissioner of the Big 12 Conference;
  • Dr. Mark Emmert, President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association;
  • Dr. Douglas Girod, Chancellor of the University of Kansas;
  • Mr. Ramogi Huma, Executive Director of the National College Players Association and former UCLA football student athlete; and
  • Mr. Kendall Spencer, Former Chair of the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and former University of New Mexico track student athlete.

“We are also honored to be joined by former Ohio State University football student athlete and the U.S. Congressman representing the 16th District of Ohio Anthony Gonzalez.  The Congressman’s background and active advocacy on this issue is highly valued by this Subcommittee, and I thank him for his willingness to prepare and present his opening statement.

“With that, I will turn to the Ranking Member, Senator Blumenthal, for his opening statement.”

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