WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) delivered remarks at the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on “NCAA Athlete NIL Rights.” Booker is the co-author of the College Athletes Bill of Rights, groundbreaking legislation that will change the landscape of college sports and protect and expand the rights of college athletes.
“Modern college athletics is a de facto for-profit industry that is just too often exploiting men and women - taking advantage of their genius, of their talent, of their artistry, robbing many of them of earnings in their peak years, leaving them often injured with a lifetime worth of costs, sometimes looking back and their universities are still making profits off of their names. The changes we're talking about should allow athletes, as we all agree to benefit from their significant commercial value, that is now being cynically exploited to the profits and an industry that's making 15 to $25 billion large companies, even their own schools are profiting off of them. And they're sharing and nothing with that.”
“…there are deeper issues that we should talk about as well, that have not been fixed. Since 2000 alone, we've seen the death of at least 30 players who have died from heat related illnesses. We now have a better understanding of what concussion does to athletes throughout their lives, but we are sitting here at a time that the NCAA doesn't even have an enforceable concussion protocols. Are our student athletes, are they really the center? If they were, we would do something about the forces that are creating such a dangerous environment for them. Because the truth is, the incentives are imbalanced.”
“Now is the time for the NCAA to evolve as an organization to truly put the students first and their concerns and their needs. So some people want to make this process as simple as possible pass a narrow piece of legislation, as its July 1 deadline comes at, I admit, is an existential threat to sports as we know it. But I'm saying no, we cannot do that. I encourage this committee to focus on the broader concerns. Make this not about the profit, but about the people. Make this not about continuing the billion dollar industry and protecting it as we know it, but elevating the floor to make sure that we address these concerns that I know I've spoken to the heart of many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”
“We cannot trust that this will fix itself. This is the moment. This is the opportunity. If we delay justice for those athletes, justice delayed is justice denied. I hope we will take advantage of this opportunity to fix these problems and make college athletics again or, for the first time, truly about the athletes that are involved.”