The Collective Association Turns Focus to Lobbying

Last Updated on January 9, 2024

The Collective Association (TCA) is making sure its voice is heard in Congress amid the ongoing conversations concerning NIL and student-athlete employment on Capitol Hill. 

The group of at least two dozen donor collectives was created in July to influence the implementation of NIL nationwide and advocate for student-athletes. Recently, as reported by Politico, TCA retained Tidal Basin Advisors’ Jesse McCollum, a former democratic lobbyist for Nike, to speak on behalf of the Collective and student-athletes. 

TCA also added former Rite Aid lobbyist Yong Choe who has worked for the House Republican Study Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Walker Jones, head of the Ole Miss collective, was the first to represent TCA indirectly in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October. He spoke of TCA members and other collectives as positive resources for student-athletes and denied any desire to participate in the recruiting process. Additionally, Jones emphasized his goal of working together with the committee in the future.

“TCA Members feel those on this panel today and other important stakeholders share the expertise and passion to work together for the long-term sustainability and growth of intercollegiate athletics,” Jones said in his testimony.

TCA retained McCollum and Choe in November, shortly before NCAA President Charlie Baker sent a letter to more than 350 Division I schools proposing a separate tier of DI sports for the most well-off programs. These schools would be asked to pay their athletes at least $30,000 through a trust fund, and the proposal also hints at allowing them to enter into NIL deals directly with athletes. 

Whether collectives will work with the schools to facilitate this potential shift is still up in the air. Nevertheless, there are certain to be more interactions between the NCAA, Congress and groups like TCA in the future. 

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