Greg Sankey reveals how NIL reform is impacted by ongoing political strife in Congress

On3 imageby:On3 Staff Report10/19/23
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As college football season rages on, behind the scenes there have been ongoing discussions about how best to manage NIL reform and the college landscape. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was in Washington D.C. this week to meet with legislators, helping inform their thinking on all things college athletics.

He came away with a few lines of thought.

“It is our hope that other committees will consider having hearings to continue to learn more with the expectation that that could result in a bill that’s then considered on either the House or Senate floor, moving through the process,” Sankey said Thursday on the Paul Finebaum Show. “Obviously right now Washington D.C. is a challenging place given the reality in the House of Representatives and the change in speakership and the waiting to see what might be next. The international stage is new. It was already challenging to begin with and occupies a great deal of time for our nation’s leaders, and we respect all of that. But we know how important college sports is.”

So far there have been a handful of NIL reform bills put forth in Congress but few that would make it across the floor and to any sort of action stage. At some point NCAA leaders hope that changes.

Sankey explained some of what he and other administrators have been doing in Congress.

“Well on Tuesday there was a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Sankey said. “I think one of the indications of interest is incredibly important for us. We’ve seen a number of bills introduced, but what we haven’t seen, Paul, what we haven’t seen is a bill move through committee onto floor consideration in either the House or the Senate.”

Until bills are brought to the floor, college athletics is mostly on its own when it comes to NIL reform. Each individual state has its own laws, but there are no uniform rules across the nation.

That’s ultimately what NIL reform legislation will seek to do: Provide a more level playing field for all involved.

“And the building of interest, the ability for our senators to be conversing on the key issues is something that I think was probably much broader and much deeper than we’ve seen,” Sankey said. “That doesn’t mean that every question or every answer was exactly on point, but we do see the interest level growing and the information we’ve shared has obviously made an impact. What we need to continue doing is broadening that education and information. We’re certainly open to answering questions.”