SEC’s Greg Sankey, Pac-12’s George Kliavkoff head to Washington seeking federal solution on NIL legislation

Conference commissioners Greg Sankey of the SEC and George Kliavkoff of the Pac-12 met with United States senators Thursday on Capitol Hill in hopes of convincing lawmakers to work on federal legislation governing name, image and likeness rights for college athletes. Sankey and Kliavkoff had meetings with at least two senators, Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), as they seek a federal solution on NIL as well as assistance in addressing employment status for college athletes, Sports Illustrated first reported Wednesday night.

“For far too long, the NCAA has refused to allow student-athletes to benef from the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL),” said Blackburn in a statement. “NCAA president Mark Emmert’s resignation is one of many necessary structural changes that will enable the NCAA to support our student-athletes. During my meeting with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and others today, I continued to push for the accountability and fairness measures our student-athletes deserve.”

Last summer, college athletes were allowed to begin profiting off NIL, and the impact has already been felt far and wide. Reports of $8 million deals for high school recruits, booster collectives not exactly circumventing “pay-for-play” rules and utilization of the transfer portal for financial leverage have become more commonplace, turning college athletics into the Wild West. 

As a result, some of college athletics’ most influential decision-makers have had enough.

“I have been invited to meetings with several senators tomorrow to discuss the issues we’re seeing with name, image and likeness, and with the existential threat of our student-athletes being deemed to be employees,” Kliavkoff told ESPN. “Either the NCAA is going to…


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