Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to focus on integrity of college sports, athletes' NIL rights

A congressional committee will examine ways to protect the integrity of college athletics in a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

The hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee will focus on interest in federal legislation addressing intellectual property rights and revenue associated with the marketing of name, image and likeness (NIL) of college athletes. Discussion on the impact of sports betting is also expected, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee aide.

Witnesses for Wednesday's hearing, slated for 2:30 p.m. ET, have not been announced.

On July 1, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on a framework for federal legislation on student-athlete compensation. On the same day, Florida joined California and Colorado in passing legislation to allow college athletes to profit off NIL beginning next summer. More than a dozen other states are pursuing similar legislation, according to the National College Players Association.

In mid-June, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) introduced the Fairness in Collegiate Athletics Act, which aims to implement rules that allow players to receive NIL compensation. More federal bills on NIL are expected to be introduced.

While sports betting will not be the focus, it is a topic of interest for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In 2000, Graham sponsored legislation that attempted to prohibit betting on college sports, including in Nevada. He was met with resistance from Nevada gaming interests, and the bill did not pass.

There is no indication that Graham will try again to ban betting on college sports, but the expanding legal sports betting market remains a concern for the NCAA and likely will be a topic of discussion during Wednesday's hearing.

Since a 2018 ruling from the Supreme Court opened a path for states to regulate sports betting, legal sportsbooks have opened in 18 states and the District of Columbia.