Commissioners from the Power 5 conferences - the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern (SEC) - sent a letter dated May 23 requesting Congress to legislate federal law regarding name, image, and likeness rights for student-athletes, according to a copy obtained by Stadium's Brett McMurphy.
The letter was signed by John Swofford (ACC), Bob Bowlsby (Big 12), Kevin Warren (Big Ten), Larry Scott (Pac-12), and Greg Sankey (SEC). The five commissioners urged congressional leaders not to delay action while the NCAA works to establish its own guidelines on student-athlete compensation.
"As the leaders of the (Autonomy Five) conferences, we believe strongly that Congress should enact the framework for a clear national policy on NIL as soon as possible and not wait for the NCAA process to conclude before moving forward with a national legislative plan," they wrote. "We intend to work with the NCAA to help shape those rules, but the Congressional process should move forward in the meantime.
"In the absence of federal NIL legislation, we expect most if not all states to pass their own disparate NIL laws in early 2021, to take effect in the summer of 2021, if not sooner. So, time is of the essence."
Bowlsby addressed the letter in a conference call with reporters Friday.
"I don't think it's indicative of anything other than our belief that the five of us bring substantial equity to college athletics and that our brands are strong,'' he said, according to The Associated Press.
In September, California became the first state to pass its own law - The Fair Play to Play Act - that will allow college athletes to receive compensation from their name, image, and likeness rights. That law will go into effect January 2023.
The NCAA's board of governors announced in April that it supports changes that would allow student-athletes to profit off third-party endorsements.