Baylor President testifies in Washington on NIL laws
CENTRAL TEXAS – Name, image, likeness. These are the words behind the acronym NIL. It continues to be a hot topic in the world of varsity athletics. Earlier this summer, the NCAA made the historic decision to reverse its stance on student-athletes receiving third-party compensation; a decision that some say is a breath of fresh air.
“What is America? This is the land of opportunity,” Baylor student Conner Dobbs said. “I guess that’s a way for them to diversify their brand and get there. I think that’s really cool.”
Student-athletes are now allowed to raise money through sponsorship agreements or signing autographs. The ripple effects of the decision left universities wondering how the NIL rules would be regulated. A hearing led by a US House subcommittee on Thursday morning focused on exactly that.
Baylor President Dr Linda Livingstone was one of the witnesses at the hearing. In his testimony, Livingstone said that the current system of states enacting their own NIL laws is unsatisfactory.
“The current patchwork system of over 30 state laws is very confusing for institutions and students, and is not transparent,” Livingstone said.
Dr Livingstone stressed that NIL laws should treat students as growing individuals rather than employees. On several occasions during the hearing, she pointed out that “pay-to-play” systems should be discouraged by law.
Baylor student Olivia Texidor agrees colleges should make professional development a priority.
“It could be much more beneficial for them to have more scholarships or opportunities for different, like internships and things like that that could help them grow and become more mature,” Texidor said.
Defenders of national NIL laws like Dr Livingstone say the legislation should include a method for giving financial advice to those earning compensation. The burden of suddenly handling large sums of money can be overwhelming for some young adults.
“It’s really critical because it puts another level of pressure on our student-athletes that a lot of them are unprepared for,” Livingstone said.
Some Baylor students, like Gabriel Powers, have similar feelings about their ability to be responsible with money.
“I don’t even have, like, that much money and I don’t know how to spend it, you know what I’m saying?” said Powers. “So I don’t think people would be responsible with that much money anyway.”
Thursday morning’s hearing was the first time the subject had been discussed in the United States House. Five hearings were held in the Senate, but those efforts were ultimately rejected due to disagreements. However, the pressure to pass federal NIL laws will continue. The passionate testimonies given by witnesses during Thursday’s hearing could bring this effort closer to reality.