Sen. Cory Booker is continuing his campaign to protect college athletes.
Partnering with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Booker introduced bipartisan draft legislation designed to reform college athletes’ health, education, and economic rights.
“Being a college athlete was one of the greatest gifts of my life – it opened doors of opportunity and offered lessons I carry with me to this day,” said Booker. “But it also opened my eyes to some deep, systemic injustices in the system – a system that, to this day, continues to put profits over athletes.
Dubbed the College Athletes Protection & Compensation Act, the bill would set national standards for name, image, and likeness (NIL), establish a Medical Trust Fund to provide care to injured athletes, prioritize educational outcomes, and safeguard the health and wellness of college athletes.
“This bipartisan proposal represents a major step forward, and I’m grateful for the partnership with Sens. Blumenthal and Moran. It would make college athletics fairer, safer, and more just, and empower more young people to succeed in sports and beyond,” added Booker.
Booker and his colleagues positioned the bill as a way to protect NIL standards for college athletics by establishing the College Athletics Corporation (CAC), which would serve as an oversight entity to set, administer, and enforce NIL rules to protect athletes.
Additionally, athletes would be allowed to have representatives assisting them with contracts, finances, marketing, and brand management.
The bill’s Medical Trust Fund would work to cover injured athletes’ out-of-pocket costs connected to long-term conditions stemming from athletics, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
New standards would be designed to protect college athletes from serious injury, mistreatment, abuse, and death. These standards would focus on specific areas, including cardiac health, concussion and traumatic brain injuries, sexual assault, and interpersonal violence, among other areas.
Finally, the bill would seek to bring transparency to college athletics by forcing schools to report revenues and expenditures of each athletics program.
Schools would need to disclose hours college athletes spent on college athletic events, and academic outcomes and majors for college athletes.
Booker’s Efforts to Help Student Athletes
The legislation represented a continuation of Booker’s work to help college athletes, including the introduction of the College Athletes Bill of Rights in 2022. Booker played college football at Stanford between 1987 and 1990, giving him a personal viewpoint on the dynamics between college athletic programs and the athletes themselves.
Blumenthal said that “for far too long” the NCAA and other special interests have placed their priorities for athletes second to how much money they can make.
“Athletes deserve national NIL standards, a Medical Trust Fund, scholarship safeguards, protection against mistreatment and abuse, and more. America’s athletes—all 500,000—deserve these basic rights,” said Blumenthal.