NCAA Testifies Before the U.S. Senate on Athlete Name Image Likeness Reform

As time ticks on the student-athlete compensation reforms that The National Collegiate Athletic Association is supposed to be working on, NCAA President Mark Emmert and other witnesses attended a hearing in front of the Senate to speak on the progress.

The issue at hand is how to properly compensate college student-athletes for their name, image, and likeness. For many years, there has been an outcry about universities making millions off the backs of the students who make no money except obtaining an education through athletic scholarships.

According to a press release from The NCAA, Emmert and other people attended a U.S. Senate hearing to stress the importance of developing fair approaches for student-athletes to utilize their name, image, and likeness while protecting the integrity of college sports within higher education. Speaking before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection this past week, Emmert testified that NCAA members in all three divisions are trying to develop reforms that will be equitable for student-athletes in the future. He also stated that the NCAA may need help from Congress to accomplish this at a national level.

“We greatly value the ongoing dialogue with you and look forward to the continued support of the Congress as we work toward a solution that meets the needs of student-athletes in a manner consistent with the long-held educational values of the NCAA, its schools and conferences, and the nearly 500,000 individuals who participate in college sports each year,” Emmert said in his testimony.

Among the people who testified were Dr. Douglas Girod, chancellor of the University of Kansas; Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association; and Kendall Spencer, former track student-athlete at the University of New Mexico and former chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Spencer, currently a student at Georgetown Law School, who is currently training to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games, explained how technology is impacting current and future student-athletes and how they view utilizing their name, image and likeness. “Protecting the welfare of student-athletes is not about getting it done, it’s about getting it done right,” Spencer said while giving his testimony. “When regulatory frameworks that affect the education and welfare of students get it wrong, the entire nation suffers. Are we—the student-athlete—not worth protecting?”