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Barry Moore: ‘Protect the BALL Act’ addresses onslaught of NIL litigation universities, conferences face

Alabama Football Coach Bear Bryant once famously said: “It’s not the will to win that matters — everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that  matters.” Even as a proud Auburn graduate, I can appreciate that sound  leadership advice.  

Students, universities, and other stakeholders need to prepare to win when it comes to the new name, image and likeness (NIL) rules. Currently, these  rules are heavily litigated, constantly changing, and difficult to enforce.  

Coach Nick Saban highlighted these concerns on a trip to Capitol Hill earlier this year, noting: “All the things I believed in for all these years, 50  years of coaching, no longer exist in college athletics.” My good friend, Coach Bruce Pearl, recently echoed Saban’s concerns, saying “There is  not enough order [in the current system].” 

It is important that we reach agreement on a new national framework for the use of NIL that preserves the greatness of college athletics and ensures  students are compensated for their work. That’s why my colleague, Rep. Russell Fry from South Carolina, and I created the Protect the Benefits for  Athletes and Limit Liability (BALL) Act.  

The Protect the BALL Act addresses the onslaught of litigation universities and conferences face relating to student-athletes’ ability to receive compensation based on NIL. This language provides a legal safe harbor for universities, conferences, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) to allow them to provide new benefits for student-athletes, establish and enforce rules, and comply with the law without the constant  risk of costly litigation.  

Current litigation prevents the NCAA from enforcing its own NIL rules. When the NCAA or athletic conferences attempt to change their rules to  provide student athletes with more benefits, they risk being hit with even  more costly litigation. The billions in damages associated with this litigation  put student athletes, universities, athletic conferences, and college sports  as we know it at risk.  

My family spent a combined 20 years at Auburn University, and so many of our best memories involve cheering on our incredible student athletes at  Jordan-Hare Stadium and Neville Arena. College sports are inextricably 

woven into the history of America, and you can’t talk about college athletics without talking about the state of Alabama.  

From the Kick Six, to the Prayer at Jordan-Hare, to last year’s fourth down play I know we all remember, college sports have helped put Alabama on  the map.  

We want college athletics to continue to thrive, and the Protect the BALL Act will be a key part of establishing a national framework that prepares us  to win by securing student-athletes’ right to receive compensation and setting a federal standard.

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