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Walker: “NCAA Has Arbitrarily Set a Sham Definition of Amateurism to Strip College Athletes of Rights”

September 30, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) released the following statement after Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law, making it illegal for California universities to revoke a student athlete's scholarship or eligibility for earning compensation from the use of their name, image, and likeness:

“For far too long, the NCAA has arbitrarily set a sham definition of amateurism to strip college athletes of the rights to their own names and self-worth, only promising to create do-nothing commissions when others highlight their exploitation. I am thankful the Governor of California has signed legislation that will lead to breaking down this monopoly. With only a short time until the law takes effect, it is imperative that the House Ways and Means Committee begins to review and advance my Student-Athlete Equity Act.”

The state legislation is similar to Walker’s Student-Athlete Equity Act. His bi-partisan legislation was introduced in March and would amend the definition of a qualified amateur sports organization in the tax code to remove the restriction on student-athletes using or being compensated for use of their name, image and likeness – forcing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to change its current model.

U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond (D-La.) is the lead co-sponsor of the bill.

"Signing an athletic scholarship with a school should not be a moratorium on your rights to your name, image, and self-worth," Walker said when introducing the Student-Athlete Equity Act. "It’s time to bring equity to student-athletes and fix the injustices that exist in the current NCAA model. After nearly two years of discussions with players and leaders, we are introducing legislation that won’t cost the NCAA or our schools a single dollar, while empowering college athletes with the same opportunities that every American should have in a free-market."

Read the full text of the Student-Athlete Equity Act here.