The future of college sports took center stage in Washington this week.
A delegation of SEC coaches and administrators met with lawmakers to advocate for federal regulation on how college athletes can earn money from their name, image, likeness (NIL).
Sens. Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville met with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, University of Alabama President Stuart Bell, UA Athletic Director Greg Byrne, UA head football Coach Nick Saban, Auburn University President Chris Roberts, Auburn Athletic Director John Cohen, Auburn head football Coach Hugh Freeze, Auburn men’s basketball Coach Bruce Pearl, and Auburn women’s basketball Coach Johnnie Harris.
The lobbying trip comes after several states implemented laws addressing NIL compensation for college athletes. The SEC representatives, alongside other stakeholders in college sports, are pushing for a uniform national standard.
Tuberville (R-Auburn) called the state-by-state approach a “disaster.”
Great to see my friend of 30+ years Nick Saban and @UofAlabama's great President Stuart Bell.
We are going to fix the broken NIL system once and for all—and save college sports. pic.twitter.com/oWW0vcolFK
— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) June 8, 2023
Britt (R-Montgomery) emphasized the necessity of a coherent national standard.
“What we have right now is essentially a race to the bottom. With every state coming up with their own rules and regulations, what we’re left with is this hodge-podge across the country,” she said. “We heard from coaches about how challenging it is to work and recruit across jurisdictions in this confusing, rapidly changing environment. What they’re asking for are simply some rules of the road that apply across the board.”
Started the morning with a great meeting with Coach Nick Saban and @SEC Commissioner @GregSankey to discuss the challenges that the current patchwork of NIL systems poses to the future of collegiate athletics. #RollTide pic.twitter.com/QLuGgCzNHA
— Senator Katie Boyd Britt (@SenKatieBritt) June 8, 2023
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) is longtime friends with Saban. Tuberville has been working with Manchin on legislation to address the opportunities and flaws in NIL regulation.
Great to have @CoachHughFreeze, @coachbrucepearl, @CoachJ_AU, @JohnCohenAD, and @AuburnU President Chris Roberts on Capitol Hill today to discuss the current challenges in college athletics. #WarEagle pic.twitter.com/KeTOVwDcSn
— Senator Katie Boyd Britt (@SenKatieBritt) June 7, 2023
“I’m for players being able to be compensated for their hard work in athletics as well as academics,” Tuberville said. “We have to come to some kind of agreement where we can help the NCAA make improvements to this runaway NIL situation that we’re in as we speak.”
Was great to meet with leaders of @AuburnU today in Washington D.C.
College athletics have provided opportunities for millions of student athletes.
— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) June 7, 2023
Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270