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Blumenthal Calls “Exploitive” College Athletics System “As Antiquated As Leather Helmets” at Committee Hearing

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, raised concerns regarding the current compensation system and fairness within college athletics at a hearing today, “Name, Image, and Likeness: The State of Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation.”

“A lot of what I hear from the NCAA and coaches and college officials evokes the fantasy of college sports as it existed fifty years ago,” Blumenthal said. “When I was a Supreme Court law clerk, I once visited with Byron White, who played football in an era when helmets were made of leather. I think a lot of the rhetoric and images that we hear about college sports are as antiquated as leather helmets. And that makes me angry, because I think the present state of college sports is exploitive.”

Blumenthal asked NCAA President Mark Emmert, “Would you agree that the present system of compensation is unfair and outdated?” Emmett replied, “I certainly agree that the NIL model that’s in place needs to be modified and is appropriate for change.” Blumenthal pressed, “Radically modified?” Emmett said, “Correct.” Blumenthal then asked the entire panel if they agreed with that assessment and every witnesses raised their hand.

During a later round of questions, Blumenthal raised concerns regarding a new NCAA policy that allows male basketball players to sign with agents but excludes women. “Coming from a state that takes great pride in our women basketball players, I think that is desperately unfair, and I hope you will correct it,” Blumenthal said.