Sports Law Team Pens Expert Analysis for Law360 on Proposed Federal NIL Legislation

Phoenix, Ariz./New York, N.Y. (September 1, 2023) Phoenix Partner and Chair of Lewis Brisbois' Collegiate & Professional Sports Law Practice Gregg E. Clifton and New York Associate Christina Stylianou recently co-authored an Expert Analysis article for Law360 titled, “The NIL Legislation Race: CAPCA And The PASS Act,” which discusses the bipartisan bills that federal lawmakers have introduced to address name, image, and likeness (NIL) issues affecting college athletes. 

The authors open the article by observing that “Congress, it seems, has heard and finally acknowledged the NCAA's pleas” for federal legislation and intervention. They further explain that the recent bipartisan approach to college athletes’ publicity rights is showcased in the College Athletes Protection and Compensation Act (CAPCA) and in the Protecting Athletes, Schools, and Sports Act (PASS Act). These bills were created after more than a dozen bills to reform college sports over the last three years failed to move through the legislative process, leaving colleges and universities without a nationwide standard. 

Next, Mr. Clifton and Ms. Stylianou discuss CAPCA and the PASS Act in detail. They describe that CAPCA, among other things, “tackles student-athletes' rights from several different angles,” including addressing “the rights of student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness by prohibiting the NCAA, athletic conferences and universities from punishing athletes or interfering with their eligibility for exercising NIL rights, with certain limited exceptions.” Similarly, they explain that the PASS Act “seeks to put guardrails in place for student-athletes with respect to NIL deals, recruitment efforts and even the transfer portal, while at the same time providing certain medical expense benefits akin to those proposed in CAPCA.” 

The authors also predict what may lie ahead for CAPCA and the PASS Act. They note that while it is not clear how CAPCA has been received by Congress or if it will proceed through the legislative process, the PASS Act “is one of the few proposed laws that have been formally introduced to Congress thus far, so it is a candidate presently on the table for a federal NIL law.” 

Mr. Clifton is chair of Lewis Brisbois' Collegiate & Professional Sports Law Practice, and a member of the firm’s Entertainment, Media & Sports and Labor & Employment Practices. He has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world and has advised numerous professional franchises on a range of labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. Mr. Clifton is also an editor of The Official Review, Lewis Brisbois’ sports law blog.  

Ms. Stylianou is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability and Entertainment, Media, & Sports Practices. She regularly represents clients in a variety of professional and collegiate sports and entertainment matters, including contract-related matters, intellectual property matters, workers’ compensation and injury, Title IX issues, among others. In addition, Ms. Stylianou frequently writes for Lewis Brisbois’s sports law blog, The Official Review, and also handles New York State labor law as well as general liability matters.   

Read the full article on Law360 here (subscription may be required). 

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