WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE) – Hagens Berman’s attorneys, who represent NCAA college athletes fighting for their right to be paid for their name, image, and likeness, say a congressional hearing on the matter largely missed key voices: those of the college athletes.
The Commerce Committee held a hearing on “NIL Rights for NCAA Athletes” on June 9, 2021, with attorneys saying almost all of the live witnesses were leaning in favor of the NCAA, despite the support of many for the college side. Athletes and the written testimony of Sedona Prince, a member of the University of Oregon’s women’s basketball team.
“We see no reason why the NCAA shouldn’t go down like any other well-funded company,” said Steve Berman, Hagens Berman managing partner and attorney who represents college athletes against the NCAA. “The NCAA’s framing on this issue is simply wrong. The NIL restrictions are due to NCAA rules that prevent the monetization of the rights of student athletes. If the NCAA wanted to get rid of these rules, it could do so anytime. The NCAA wants members of Congress to believe that there is an impending crisis to enforce a bad law that doesn’t take college athletes into account. ”
Attorneys say federal laws are not necessary to preserve college sports or to ensure college athletes receive NIL compensation freedoms. There is no need for Congress to state that college athletes have NIL rights, as lawyers say it is not the law that stands in the way of those rights. The reason the state laws were enacted is to address the fundamental issue that NCAA rules are currently unfairly restricting NIL rights that college athletes would otherwise have, the company said. If the NCAA genuinely believes there is a problem with different NIL standards from state to state, there is nothing stopping them from fixing this problem on their own by amending the NCAA rules so that all athletes can benefit from their own NILs.
“Sedona and her colleagues – the hard-working college athletes whose regulation Congress is debating – deserve a seat at the table,” added Berman.
The company urges the public to hear Sedona Prince’s testimony before the Trade Committee for a hearing on Nov.
“No legislation should sacrifice the rights and freedoms of college athletes to protect the NCAA’s bank account,” Prince said in her statement.
A recent bill tabled by Senator Roger Wicker to Senator Maria Cantwell has the potential to rob hundreds of thousands of college athletes of their fair rights to compensation for their name, image and likeness, the company says.
The company encourages college athletes to learn about the law, their rights, and how to contact members of Congress.
Attorneys say Senator Wicker’s proposed bill will completely undo legal efforts to protect the rights of college athletes to their name, image and likeness – who have served as money makers for the NCAA, its members and conferences for decades. College athletes are long overdue for their fair share of the massively lucrative college sports industry, the company says.
Congress should not pass a bill that gives the NCAA carte blanche from legal liability for the huge gains they have made at the expense of college athletes, the company says. Lawyers argue that Congress does not need to grant the NCAA an antitrust exemption in order for it to benefit from their NIL rights, and there is no reason to give them immunity from liability for the financial damage they have caused athletes, if if they keep doing this, they bring in millions and billions of dollars each year.
The matter is currently the subject of an antitrust class action lawsuit alleging that the NCAA and other defendants violated federal antitrust laws by abiding by a certain subset of the NCAA amateurism rules that prohibit college athletes from doing in exchange for the commercial use of valuables to preserve their name and likeness.
Hagens Berman has previously represented classes of college students and scored a $ 208 million settlement versus the NCAA for student and athlete scholarship limits, a combined $ 60 million settlement versus Electronic Arts and the NCAA on rights to gamer picture rights in video games and an additional $ 75 million settlement on concussions and safety protocols and a lawsuit victory that overrides NCAA rules that limit education-based compensation. The firm’s sports disputes legal team also includes former NCAA athletes.
Learn about the proposed law and what you can do to protect college athletes’ rights.
About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman has 10 offices worldwide. The firm’s persistent advocacy of plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national awards, accolades and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiffs”, MVPs and pioneers of class action law. You can find out more about the firm and its successes at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the company for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.