Ten U.S. Senators announced a proposal that lays the groundwork for a college athletes bill of rights that will guarantee fair compensation, improved educational opportunities, and health and safety standards. The framework is designed to protect the rights of athletes who participate in college sports and to ensure justice and opportunity are extended to all.
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Brian Schatz (D-HI), announced that formal legislation will be announced in the coming months.
“Our framework is centered around the principle of empowering athletes,” Senator Blumenthal said. “We want to give college athletes the tools they need to protect their economic rights, pursue their education, prioritize their health and safety, and most critically, hold their schools and organizations like the NCAA accountable.”
Issues of fairness and justice in college athletics are deeply personal for Senator Booker, a former high school All-American and Division 1 football player at Stanford University. He has publicly called for allowing college athletes to be compensated for their “name, image, and likeness” rights and requiring colleges and universities to cover athletes’ medical expenses for injuries sustained during college competition for at least 10 years after eligibility.
In May, Sen. Booker and Sen. Murphy criticized the recommendations included in the NCAA’s Board of Governors report on college-athlete compensation as insufficient and urged more sweeping reforms. In June, Booker and Blumenthal announced a bill—the Collegiate Athlete Pandemic Safety Act—to ban the use of legally dubious COVID-19 liability waivers, safeguard the scholarship of any athlete who decided not to participate this year out of fear of contracting COVID-19, and require athletic departments to comply with CDC-issued health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19.
The framework is endorsed by the United Steelworkers, the National College Players Association, the Sports Fans Coalition, Color of Change, College Athletes for No More Names, College Athletes Unity, Athletes Igniting Action, the Coalition for African Diaspora Student-Athletes, and the Authors of ‘NCAA Exploitation No More.’
The College Athletes Bill of Rights will provide: