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  • The best time to talk about athlete collective bargaining was months ago.

The best time to talk about athlete collective bargaining was months ago.

The second best time is right now. Jack Swarbrick is right.

Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.

There was another NIL/college sports reform hearing in the US Senate on Tuesday. I didn’t watch it, but from reading many of the recaps, it doesn’t appear that I missed anything particularly meaningful.

You had senior college sports administrators calling for the same stuff they’ve been asking for (standardized NIL rules, antitrust exemption to enforce NCAA amateurism regulations, legally codifying that athletes aren’t employees), an athlete rights advocate saying “Don’t do those things”, and then a current athlete.

This hearing was useful insofar as it included a collective operator, and it forced NCAA Charlie Baker to go on the record with the teeniest potential policy concession (being willing to have benefits like scholarship protection and expanded health insurance codified into federal law), but nothing that would have justified an entire newsletter.

But Notre Dame Jack Swarbrick kept talking about the hearing. And what he shared with Yahoo! Sports, in my view, is far more interesting and important than anything anybody said in Congress.

Specifically, Swarbrick said that it’s time for a form of collective bargaining with college athletes and that Congress should consider creating a special legislative carve-out to create that possibility without making athletes employees.

I don’t think I have a strong opinion right now about the merits of a collective bargaining system without employee status. I’d need to talk to more people and study the issue more. But I absolutely think Swarbrick is correct that dealing directly with athletes is where this conversation should be going.

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