California Senator Introduces NIL Bill Focused on Title IX Transparency

California Senator Nancy Skinner (D.) introduced legislation Tuesday targeting donor-funded name, image, and likeness collectives and their lack of transparency considering gender equity. SB 906 would require collectives and other entities entering into NIL deals to disclose certain information to the schools to uncover discrepancies in NIL compensation.

The information includes the gender and team of the college athlete and the amount of compensation and value of items or services provided to the athlete or their immediate family. Additionally, collectives will turn in the total amount of compensation and value of the items and services provided to all college athletes at the postsecondary institution each year by sport and gender.

The names along with any other personal identifiers of college athletes, will not be included, and the disclosed information will be made publicly available from the college or university. The idea is that any obvious imbalances in NIL compensation by gender will come to light, and lawmakers can take appropriate action.

“SB 906 is a basic transparency measure. While it won’t require all college athletes to receive the same amount of NIL money, SB 906 will provide the public and policymakers with important information about what’s actually happening in the NIL marketplace,” Sen. Skinner said in a statement. “If SB 906 reveals that college-backed NIL efforts are truly shortchanging female athletes and worsening gender inequity, then colleges and policymakers will have the information necessary to level the playing field.”

Collectives can avoid Title IX requirements because they’re technically not operated by the schools themselves. As a result, men’s college football and basketball teams get the best deals from collectives, oftentimes leaving women’s programs shorthanded. This doesn’t include outliers like Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and LSU’s Livvy Dunne, but it applies to numerous female college athletes nationwide.

According to Opendorse, at top schools, the average women’s basketball player makes $9,000 from collective contracts, while the average men’s player makes $37,000. Should this inequality be present in a university-controlled setting, there would be several Title IX violations.

Skinner’s proposed bill follows a December lawsuit filed by 32 University of Oregon college athletes targeting Title IX violations in the school’s athletic department and subsequently the school’s unaffiliated Division Street collective. The lawsuit alleges that male college athletes receive more NIL-related training, opportunities, and income than female athletes.

Skinner has had two previous successes in the legislative NIL sphere, first with SB 206, enacted in 2019, which made California the first state to give college athletes the ability to monetize their NIL, then with SB 26, enacted in 2021, which expanded NIL’s impact and rights to community college athletes.

“Today, student-athletes in every state are finally receiving some compensation for their talent and hard work. That’s great news. But with the growth of collectives and other strategies employed by college sports boosters, these efforts may be primarily benefiting men and once again shortchanging women athletes,” Sen. Skinner said. “SB 906 will shine a light on NIL and give us a better understanding of whether NIL is contributing to gender inequity in college sports.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments Yet.