Timeline of when SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 began lobbying against NIL in congress

Jan 6, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Scenes from Capitol Hill, after protesters stormed the U.S.
Jan 6, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Scenes from Capitol Hill, after protesters stormed the U.S. / Hannah Gaber, Hannah Gaber via Imagn

The SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12's push against NIL, one fully backed by the NCAA, has been years in the making. According to Front Office Sports' Amanda Christovich, it's been five years for some of those conferences since the Power 5 began their lobbying against student-athletes being compensated as full-time employees.

"The power conferences have the same agenda as the NCAA, but they have enlisted their own separate army of lobbyists from at least eight firms, according to DYK Media," Christovich wrote. "The Big 12 and ACC began their lobbying campaigns in 2019; the other three joined the following year. The SEC and ACC each spent $2.47 million between ’19 and ’23, at least $1 million more than the Big 12, Pac-12, and Big Ten, respectively. (The Big Ten was the only league that spent less than $1 million in that time period.)

"Since 2020, the SEC has employed Akin Gump, the second-highest-grossing firm behind Brownstein Hyatt, according to public records and DYK Mediaresearch. (While the Pac-12 does not employ Akin Gump for lobbying, the firm is representing the league in a National Labor Relations Board case over athlete employee status.) Multiple conferences employ Subject Matter, one of the 20 highest-grossing firms, and Marshall & Popp, well known for its ties to prominent Republican lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell."

SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 push against NIL illustrates evils of Washington D.C.

Of all the rotten things that happen in the District of Columbia, pushing against student-athletes being paid has to be one of the simplest to understand. Kids that play Division I sports, especially for Power conference schools, quite literally dedicate the bulk of their time to their sport, working out, practicing, watching film, etc., and they make their schools millions of dollars in the process.

If non-athletes can be employed by the school, some of whom, let's be honest, sit around on their phones all day, only staring at their computers when a few tasks come their way, how in the world would athletes be excluded from being able to monetize their own blood, sweat, and tears?

This goes beyond just pay-to-play NIL, where the schools would pay students directly. What the NCAA and the Power 5 are lobbying for is a "return to amateurism," as Christovich reported. That means taking away endorsement deals and only allowing money to be doled out to coaches, their staff, and greedy administrators.

With how far NIL has come in the last few years, and how out of control it's been at times, it's not shocking to learn that there's been a push against it.

But now we know for a fact that players' rights mean nothing to those in charge of the sport. And that's an ugly realization.