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Monday, Sep 25, 2023 | Latest Print Edition

Tuberville in early stages of writing NIL legislation

Sens. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., are in the early phases of drafting a bill that would seek to stabilize the collegiate NIL deal landscape.

At this stage, Tuberville said those involved were simply weighing the options on how to handle college-level NIL deals. They aim to create a top-to-bottom outline of the bill, which Tuberville intends to keep brief once written.

Tuberville said that if what they put together during the initial drafting is unappealing, he will not advance the bill through the legislative process.

“I think we can help,” Tuberville said. “But at the end of the day, if we get all the information and put something together and I don’t think it’s good, we won’t do it.”

In August, members of Tuberville’s team sent letters asking for opinions from colleges on how NIL deals had gone since being permitted in July 2021.

They intended for their responses to help guide where they may take the bill, as Tuberville noted that he did not want NIL deals eliminated in full, but simply contained. 

His team received numerous responses to their letter. Tuberville said they received feedback about these deals from every conference, and he will continue to engage athletic departments throughout the country.

Setting nationwide limitations and rules for NIL deals has been the initial focus for Tuberville’s team. He also said that coaches deserve to have more input about how their teams handle NIL deals.

“We want to make sure that the coaches are the ones that handle anything that happens with their athletes once they get on campus,” Tuberville said.

Tuberville also mentioned that they have come across several issues already, chiefly deciding how to rein in a highly lucrative market in a way that can appeal to legislators across the nation.

“We’ve got two issues here: the NIL money, which the cat’s out of the bag on that one, we’re not going to draw any of that back,” Tuberville said. “And there’s no parameters. The NCAA is going to wash their hands of it, and they’ve let this thing get out of hand.”

While Tuberville wants a bill to set parameters on NIL deals and puts student-athletes first, he expressed concern about allowing everyone to have a voice and create effective legislation. 

With several states across the country already having their own NIL-related legislation, Tuberville thought such discrepancies would pose a challenge to finding areas of agreement across the board.

“You’ve got states all over the country doing things because of state laws that some other states can’t do because their laws are different,” Tuberville said. “We want to make sure when we finish this that every state has a definition of what they can do and a timeline.”

He acknowledged that this bill would likely not receive unanimous support, but he said that he wanted the prospective bill to be something that most people would find reasonable and could support.

“If we can get something that we think can really work and help with the problems they’re having now, it may not go as far as people want, but that’s not our problem,” Tuberville said. “Our problem is to make sure all 50 states are doing the same thing so that everybody has an equal, level playing field.”

Tuberville wants to have a bill written up and sent through the proper channels to stabilize what most would describe as an increasingly volatile market. With Manchin working across the political aisle, Tuberville hopes to pass a bill that Americans across the political spectrum can agree with.

“I think most people up here understand that college sports are what our whole country has been proud of for a very long time,” Tuberville said. “It involves a lot of people, and hopefully there will be a lot of interest in this.”

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Tucker Massey | Content Editor

Tucker Massey, junior in journalism, is the content editor for The Auburn Plainsman.

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