FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 13, 2020
Color Of Change Endorses College Athletes Bill of Rights
Landmark proposal announced by U.S. senators marks national progress toward ending exploitation of Black college athletes
NATIONAL — Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, applauds the U.S. Senators who today announced a framework for a new college athletes bill of rights aimed at advancing justice and opportunity for all college athletes. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI) unveiled a proposal that would guarantee fair and equitable compensation, enforceable health and safety standards, and improved educational opportunities for college athletes.
“The establishment of a College Athletes Bill of Rights marks an important milestone in the fight to achieve justice for Black student-athletes who have been exploited by universities, coaches, and corporations for profit for far too long,” said Color Of Change Vice President and Chief of Campaigns Arisha Hatch. “Color Of Change and its members have been calling on lawmakers for more than a year to introduce federal legislation guaranteeing fair pay for athletes across the country. We continue to stand in solidarity with student-athletes who have been fighting for a voice and support the U.S. Senators who are advocating on their behalf in Congress. This is a moment to celebrate, but we must not forget there is still much more work to be done in order to pass this bill and fully eradicate structural racism in collegiate sports and open the door to economic opportunity to all college athletes.”
Among measures that would advance college athletes’ health, safety, education, and voice, The College Athletes Bill of Rights would provide fair and equitable compensation by allowing student athletes to market their name, image, and likeness (NIL), both individually and as a group, with minimal restrictions. Formal legislation unveiled today will be introduced in the Senate in the coming months.
“As a former college athlete, this issue is personal to me,” said Sen. Booker. “The NCAA has failed generations of young men and women even when it comes to their most basic responsibility—keeping the athletes under their charge healthy and safe. The time has come for change. We have an opportunity to do now what should have been done decades ago—to step in and provide true justice and opportunity for college athletes across the country. Our college athletes bill of rights establishes a new framework for fairness, equity, and safety in college athletics, and holds colleges accountable to these standards.”
In 2019, Color Of Change conducted a nationwide survey that revealed 74% of participants believed allowing players to earn money from their name or image would specifically turn the tide for Black student-athletes, who make up the vast majority of the highest-revenue sports of football and basketball. The polling also found that two-thirds of all participants found it unfair that the NCAA and universities could earn money off of player’s likeness while student-athletes were prohibited.
Color Of Change successfully worked in partnership with California State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and State Senator Steven Bradford (D-Los Angeles) to advocate on behalf of the California Fair Pay to Play Act, signed into law in September 2019.
On August 10, 2020, Color Of Change launched a member petition demanding the NCAA and athletic conference guarantee scholarships, health care, and fair play for players.