Chair Cantwell at College Athletics Hearing: “This is the Time to Make Progress”

Name, Image, and Likeness Hearing Featured In-Depth Discussion of Increased Rights and Protections for Student-Athletes

June 9, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called for action to provide more rights and protections for student-athletes at today’s hearing about college athletics.

“So it is our hope today that this hearing will bring focus and attention to how to resolve the issues that would allow us to grant these important rights to students,” Chair Cantwell said. “And also make sure that we are taking care of our students on important issues like scholarship, health care, transferability, obviously making sure that women are treated equally within the sports arena.”

Chair Cantwell previously introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) guaranteeing equal pay for athletes competing under the American flag at the Olympics or World Cup.

“It's so important for us to listen to the voices that have made so many of these points clear,” Chair Cantwell said. “Dallas Hobbs, a football player at Washington State University, called attention to inadequate COVID protections and formed a unity group with Pac-12 players. We also have heard from Sedona Prince, a college basketball player from the University of Oregon, who shined a spotlight on a persistent gender divide in college sports when she posted a video that literally compared her workout room to the workout room of male athletes during the Final Four tournament, so we can do better.”

During the Q&A portion of today’s hearing, Chair Cantwell asked Dr. Wayne Frederick of Howard University about the issue of health standards and student-athlete safety.

“I want to ask Dr. Frederick, because this issue of heat impacts and horrific news of actual deaths from this,” Chair Cantwell said. “Why can't we just get better health standards to cover the NCAA institutions to set a standard for what health could be, even if it's done here at a federal level, that guidance that must be followed by institutions?”

“You know, I think this is an important point and especially when you look around heat related issues and concussions in particular,” Dr. Frederick responded. “We have to have standards around where the athletes compete. Once again, I think some of the issues here are around education and resources. We must insist that the number of trainers that are out there with the athletes, and someone monitoring the conditions for the individual athletes are part of what is taking place.”

Chair Cantwell also authored a bipartisan resolution honoring the achievements of women athletes and calling for equal treatment and pay.

Video of Chair Cantwell’s opening statement can be found HERE.

Video of Chair Cantwell’s Q&A with witnesses can be found HERE and audio is HERE.

Transcripts can be found HERE.