SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff will meet with United States senators in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to ask for legislative help surrounding name, image and likeness policies.
“I have been invited to meetings with several senators tomorrow to discuss the issues we’re seeing with name, image and likeness, and with the existential threat of our student-athletes being deemed to be employees,” Kliavkoff told ESPN on Wednesday.
NCAA president Mark Emmert and other leaders in college athletics have been asking for federal lawmakers to step in and regulate NIL policies. There are currently no federal regulations around NIL, and state laws vary considerably.
Kliavkoff contacted Democratic Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, whom he knows from their time working together at RealNetworks. He and Sankey will be meeting with Cantwell and Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, and are hoping to meet with other senators from both parties.
“The goal is to discuss a few of the issues facing college athletics with influential senators,” Kliavkoff said. “I think it’s more likely that we eventually get federal legislation on name, image and likeness, but we’re also interested in discussing all of the harm that will come to student-athletes if they are deemed to be employees.”
The meetings come on the heels of Pac-12 spring meetings during which athletic directors and coaches sought solutions to better control the NIL landscape.
Kliavkoff told ESPN it’s imperative to enforce rules prohibiting the use of NIL as a recruiting inducement or pay-for-play.
“Either the NCAA is going to get its act together in enforcing this,” he said, “or I’m going to be pushing for a smaller group to figure out how to create and enforce the NIL rules that we all agree on related to inducement and pay-for-play. The amount of an NIL payment should be commensurate with the work done as a backstop to make sure we’re not using it related to inducement and pay-for-play.”