WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The NCAA said it’s in the process of changing its rules to allow athletes to profit off endorsements. So college athletes came to Capitol Hill Thursday to seek uniform standards for college athlete compensation.
Christian Chenault, a former captain of the UCLA track-and-field team, told senators the NCAA is riddled with problems.
“College sports has become a multi-billion dollar business that has a financial monopoly over its commodified athletes,” Chenault said. “These years could have been the best years of my life but instead they were overshadowed by injustice, trauma and inequity.”
Former Georgetown athlete Sari Cureton said, “Less than 2% of NCAA athletes go on to play professionally, meaning the best years for them to monetize their name, image and likeness is these four years.”
Athletes also say many are forced to choose majors which allow them to focus on sports, something that limits their financial success later in life.
Too often schools aren’t looking out for athletes’ interests, they said, and ignore cases of sexual assault and the mental and physical health of athletes.
Jordan McNair died from heatstroke suffered during practice. His father, Martin McNair, said, “I can’t get out of my mind the athletic trainer that day yelling, ‘If he can’t walk, drag his ass across the field.'”
States like Maryland and California passed new laws to protect athletes. But athletes — and even the NCAA — say a single set of federal rules would be better and easier to enforce.
Congress is considering several bills to deal with the issue of college athlete endorsements and a bill sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker called the College Athletes Bill of Rights.