What would the plan do?
Allow college athletes to be compensated for their “name, image and likeness”
To bolster the new California law, Booker said he would push for federal legislation to extend the same benefits to student athletes across the nation. All student athletes could receive sponsorships or payment for the use of their name, image and likeness rights, and they also could hire an agent or business manager without being penalized for doing so.
Give student athletes more medical care
Colleges would be expected to comply with standards governing the health, safety and wellness of student athletes, and required to provide college athletes with the right to seek a second medical opinion without out-of-pocket expenses. Colleges would also be required to cover athletes’ medical expenses for the treatment of injuries sustained or exacerbated during college competition for at least 10 years after eligibility.
On top of that, colleges would have to provide “lifetime scholarships” to scholarship athletes who complete at least two years as a member of their respective teams — an idea previously supported by National Collegiate Athletic Association President Mark Emmert.
Strengthen Title IX and gender pay equity
Booker said he would strengthen Title IX compliance by requiring that spending for athletes, including financial aid, post-season awards, stipends and school-mediated group licensing funds, be “substantially proportionate” to a college’s male-female participation ratio.
Booker would also sign into law the Athletics Fair Pay Act, which would require national governing bodies, including the United States Soccer Federation, to treat and compensate female athletes fairly and equally.
Additionally, his plan would improve pay and working conditions for minor league baseball players, and also advocate for the labor rights of cheerleaders and dancers.
How would it work?
Booker would establish a new federal commission — dubbed the U.S. Commission on Integrity in Sports — to provide ongoing oversight of college athletics, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and national governing bodies. It would be charged with submitting policy recommendations to Congress.
The commission would be made up of current and former athletes, policy experts, academics and key administration officials from the departments of Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education; the National Labor Relations Board; and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
To improve college athlete academic performance, Booker’s plan also calls on accrediting agencies and all NCAA-participating colleges to submit plans to the Department of Education for how they will support athletes. Specifically, the colleges would have to say how they would support athlete engagement and the formation of college athlete-run organizations, and how they would incorporate college athletes into the formation and review of policies and practices.
The Education Department would then be required to annually report data on athletes’ educational outcomes, health and safety and freedom to choose their desired course of study.
What have other candidates proposed?
Booker’s plan jumps off of California’s “Fair Pay to Play” Act. Illinois, Florida and New York have pre-filed legislation mirroring California’s law for the 2020 state legislative sessions, and lawmakers in another half-dozen states are considering introducing legislation.
Of those vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, only entrepreneur Andrew Yang has a formal plan for paying college athletes. Though smaller in scale, the plan is similar to Booker’s and the California law. The main difference is that Yang proposed creating a new type of athlete called a “performer athlete.”