WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBOY) — Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) spoke on Wednesday about the Protecting Athletes, Schools, and Sports (PASS) Act of 2023, a bipartisan bill which aims to create federal legislation for name, image and likeness contracts in college athletics.
“I want to maintain the integrity of collegiate sports,” Manchin said.
With another sports year set to begin for collegiate sports, Manchin said he hopes to get the act established as soon as he can. He added that the bill will be discussed over the next several weeks during “high level meetings in Washington D.C.”
“Everyone has an interest in it,” Manchin said. “All of us have our favorite teams, you know that, and all of us talk about sports.”
According to Manchin, the proposed bill is a product of insight from athletic directors, student-athlete groups and other stakeholders in college athletics. Former Auburn head coach and current Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) worked alongside Manchin to propose the bill.
“Coach Tuberville brought a wealth of knowledge,” Manchin said. “He’s been through the recruiting ends of it, the commitments they have to make as a school, (commitments) towards the student athletes and what the school is obligated to do.”
The PASS Act would have student-athletes sign standardized contracts for NIL deals, which would not be approved until the athlete has completed their first college semester. Athletes would also be required to disclose the terms of that contract, including financial details, to their member institution within 30 days.
Larger NIL collectives would also have to register with the NCAA and disclose the details of all NIL deals associated with their affiliated school, among other topics.
Currently, 32 states have NIL legislation. The PASS Act, if passed, would preempt any previous state laws.
The proposed bill could also establish new rules for the transfer portal, which was established in 2018 and is the gateway through which student-athletes can change schools.
Student-athletes would have to complete their first three years of academic eligibility before being allowed a penalty-free transfer. Exceptions would include the death of a family member, the departure of the athlete’s head coach, or the departure of the athlete’s primary position coach.
“It’s close to what it had been before,” Manchin said. “There has to be a level of nurturing and building of their talents.”
The NCAA’s current transfer rules allow undergraduate student-athletes a one-time, penalty free transfer. Undergraduate student-athletes who transfer a second time must secure a waiver. Graduate transfers are also granted immediate eligibility.
Football and men’s basketball dominate in collecting revenue for the NCAA and schools, but Manchin and other officials have concerns that non-high revenue sports “may not have a chance of surviving,” in the current landscape of NIL in college athletics.
During Big 12 media days, WVU head coach Neal Brown and Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said they were looking for unity in regards to NIL oversight.
To read a summary of the PASS Act, click here.