The NCAA Reportedly Spent Almost Half A Million To Lobby Congress Over College Athlete Endorsement Money

AP – The Power Five conferences spent $350,000 on lobbying in the first three months of 2020, more than they had previously spent in any full year, as part of a coordinated effort to influence Congress on legislation affecting the ability of college athletes to earn endorsement money.

The Southeastern Conference was the biggest spender, hiring three lobbying firms and paying them a total of $140,000, according to lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by The Associated Press. Before this year, the SEC did not employ Washington lobbyists, instead leaving the work of influencing Congress to individual universities and the NCAA.

In a statement to AP, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference hired lobbyists so it could be part of the discussion as Congress gets more serious about reforming college sports.

“It is important for the SEC to have a voice in this national dialogue,” Sankey said. “We look forward to a constructive exchange of ideas about ways we can further enhance our student-athletes’ educational and athletic experiences while ensuring that any future changes can be administered fairly on a national level.”

Rep. Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican and an outspoken NCAA critic who has introduced legislation on the topic, said the NCAA and its allies were “tone deaf” for spending money on lobbying to limit the earning power of athletes during a pandemic that has wrecked the U.S. economy.

“You’ve got millions of Americans struggling. Close to 500,000 student-athletes have had practices and competitions canceled, and they want Congress to drop everything and give them some kind of legal backdrop, cover, after decades of abuse,” Walker said.

The AP’s exclusive report goes much further in depth on who did what but the gist is that all the Power 5 schools paid their own lobbyists as well as two communal lobbying firms in Republican-leaning Marshall & Popp and Democrat-leaning Subject Matter.


With recent news that the NCAA would allow athletes to profit from endorsements and social media, it seemed like we were on the cusp of the era of the “Cool NCAA”. After decades in which they told NCAA athletes that their education and the college experience were the maximum value the players could achieve, any step towards loosening the purse strings of commoditized unpaid student athletes was viewed as a positive. Sure it came at least partially at the hands of more basketball players opting to go international or the NBA’s new developmental programs for star prospects siphoning off top talent but progress is progress. But with the NCAA having been a villain for so long, any positive step towards freedom for student athletes seems like a positive.

And now, just a few short months later, we find that the Power 5 conferences all dedicated significant resources to control the outcome. Whenever the NCAA starts to look slightly less evil after building billion dollar enterprises that benefit everyone but the players themselves, they simply cannot help themselves from showing their true colors. As is the case with most legacy businesses, they want to protect the unfettered cash cow they’ve sustained for so long. But you know who else does that? Cartels. And they at least create for entertaining TV dramas rather than just suck the lifeforce from kids who may not even know any better.

The NCAA is Hydra from the Marvel movies, SPECTRE from the Bond movies, the Council of Ricks in Rick and Morty with far fewer witty quips. They’re a pure villain at worst and an oligarchical Illuminati at best. For as much as we may enjoy college football, basketball, or our alma mater’s successes in numerous sports across all genders, it may be time to move on.

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