Last week, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) announced that he was partnering with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) on legislation that would provide federal regulations to the name, image and likeness (NIL) issue in college sports.
NIL, which is the product of a U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down in 2020, has paved the way for NCAA student-athletes to profit for their personal brands.
During a Wednesday appearance on the “Outkick 360” podcast, Tuberville discussed why he believed federal NIL legislation was necessary.
“At the end of the day,” Tuberville said, “we need fairness for all schools, big universities and small universities, and if we get the fairness for that I think we can accomplish something here. And again, it might take some tweaking as we go along, but we’ve got to have a base where to start. And before we put this so-called future bill in front of the Congress and in front of the United States, we will make sure it’s the proper thing to do and it will have an opportunity to work and make it fair for all.”
Alabama’s junior senator advised that he decided to work with Manchin because “you can’t do anything here in Washington, D.C. unless you have a bipartisan approach.”
“He and I sat down one day, and we got together and we both came to the conclusion we’ve got to do something,” he continued. “We’ve got to help. He thinks he can deliver people on the left. I hopefully can deliver people on the right to try to get this done.”
Tuberville emphasized that the effort was not about limiting a student’s ability to make money under the new rules.
“We’re not in to the money part,” he explained. “We’re not trying to limit what people can do. What we want to do at the end of the day is come up with some standards and rules for all 50 states. That’s what we can do in the federal government. We can pass a bill … that all 50 states have to go by these guidelines. Right now there is no guidelines. It is a disaster.”
He also expressed concern about how this could affect funding for other sports programs that not among the major money makers.
“I do not want us to start losing financing for Olympic sports, women sports, the so-called sports that have to use money that’s built up by the big sports,” he said. “We need to make it to where everybody can be satisfied and to make it equal for everybody and still be able to have the country that we know we have in terms of college athletics because it is something that most of us hang our hat on every year to watch and take pride in.”
Tuberville said the focus still needed to be what was in the best for students’ education.
“We’ve got to look at the degree … and we’ve got to look at the well-being for the student-athlete,” he concluded.