College sports are in the midst of the biggest changes in a generation. Current athletes, the NCAA, lawmakers and members of Congress have all proposed rules that would give athletes, to varying degrees, new protections and opportunities to make money by selling their rights to their name, image and likeness (NIL) while playing in college.

Who has the final say on these new rules? How big will the new opportunities be? These issues will be resolved in the spring and summer of 2021. At that time, we will provide you with the latest and most detailed information on this process.

Go to section : Calendar: Legislative Calendar: Start Date


A group of basketball players competing in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament are using the bright lights of March Madness to push for changes in NCAA rules and federal legislation to provide college athletes with more protections and earning opportunities.

The players, led by a trio of Big Ten seniors, plan to protest on social media during the tournament with the hashtag #NotNCAAProperty and host debates with athletes and experts to discuss the NCAA’s unfair rules and ways to ensure college athletes are treated fairly, according to a statement sent Wednesday night on behalf of the group. They have not indicated that they want to boycott the games. The players are asking the NCAA to comply in the first quarter. They asked to meet with NCAA President Mark Emmert, the administration of President Joe Biden and state and federal lawmakers to discuss various reforms.

Calendar: What happens next

31. March: The Supreme Court will hold hearings in the antitrust case Alston v. Listen to the NCAA. Although the case is not directly related to name, trademark and resemblance rights, the issue being considered by the judges could play a role in the passage of legislation later this year. The NCAA says it is up to the NCAA to draw the line between amateur and professional sports. The judge’s decision and the language in which he rendered it may prove influential in future disputes. The Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of June.

29. April: The 100th. President Biden’s day. Members of Congress said it was unlikely the federal NIL bill would be debated during Biden’s first 100 days. It is not clear when university sport reform will be on the agenda for debate.

1. July: Florida law should go into effect. Athletes from Florida schools can begin accepting sponsorships on this day. The NCAA could have until July 1 to file a lawsuit against Florida State and ask the judge for a preliminary injunction, which, if granted, could delay passage of the bill.

Time: How did we get here.

30. September 2019: California is passing a bill introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner that would prohibit schools from punishing athletes for taking money from sponsors while in school starting in 2023. The NCAA called the legislation an existential threat to amateur sports when it was filed a few months earlier.

29. October 2019: The NCAA Board of Governors is unanimous that it is time to modernize the name, image and likeness rules. The board is asking the three NCAA divisions to establish rules by January 2021 that allow athletes to make money from endorsements while maintaining the university model.

29. April 2020: A task force appointed by the NCAA is formulating its proposals on how Division I should change its rules, including details on opportunities and limitations for future athlete agreements. The Division I Board of Directors formally presented these proposed changes in November 2020 and plans to put them to a vote in January 2021.

12. June 2020: Florida is implementing its state law with an expected effective date of July 1, 2021, which will significantly reduce the time needed to create a uniform national solution.

22. July 2020: Emmert, the president of the NCAA, during a Senate hearing in Washington is again asking Congress to help create a federal NIL law. Several senators have urged Emmert and the NCAA to broaden the scope of their reform efforts if they want help from Capitol Hill.

2. August 2020: A group of Pac-12 players are threatening to boycott the season and have released a list of demands, including receiving a portion of the athletics department’s revenue. A week later, a similar group of national stars formed and declared their intention to create a college football league in the future.

24. September 2020: Representatives. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) are filing a federal bill that would allow the NIL to manage some restrictions in hopes that fans won’t disrupt the recruiting process.

10. December 2020: Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss. is proposing federal legislation that would authorize certain NIL agreements and also create an antitrust exemption that would protect the NCAA from certain types of future lawsuits.

16. December 2020: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the NCAA’s appeal of a federal judge’s decision in the antitrust case Alston v. NCAA to hear. While the Supreme Court’s decision in this case does not directly affect the NIA rules, it could affect the extent to which the NCAA has control over the definition of amateurism in the future.

17. December 2020: Without. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are introducing a bill calling for a thorough overhaul of NCAA rules and the management of college sports.

11. January 2021: The NCAA Division I Board of Directors decides to indefinitely postpone a vote on the rules for names, images and likenesses due to a letter from the Department of Justice expressing concern about the potential antitrust implications of a rule change. Emmert, the NCAA president, said he was disappointed and frustrated by the delay.

4. February 2021: Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. and Rep. Laurie Trahan, D-Mass. propose federal legislation that would create a completely free market for advertising contracts with college athletes.


The NCAA has asked Congress for help in drafting a federal NIL law. While several federal options have been proposed, it is becoming increasingly likely that state laws will be passed before any federal changes are made. Six states have already passed NIL laws and more than a dozen others are actively working on legislation.

States with lawsCalifornia… Accepted: September 2019. Valid from : 1. January 2023.
Colorado… Adopted: March 2020. Valid from : 1. January 2023.
Florida… Adopted: June 2020. Effective: 1. July 2021.
Michigan… Adopted: December 2020. Effective: 31. December 2022.
Nebraska… Adopted: July 2020. Entry into force : No later than 1. July 2023 (schools can implement the new policy at any time).
New Jersey… Adopted: September 2020. Valid from : September 2025.

States with bills in the legislative process
There are 16 states with bills in the legislative process: Alabama (earliest proposed effective date: 2023), Arizona (2021), Iowa (2021), Kansas (2022), Maryland (2023), Massachusetts (2022), Mississippi (2021), Montana (2023), New Mexico (2021), New York (2021), North Carolina (2024), Pennsylvania (2021), Rhode Island (2022), Tennessee (2023), Texas (2023), West Virginia (2021).

Where it all began



Dan Murphy explains the landmark Fair Pay Act, which will provide financial compensation to college athletes in California.

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