College Football Playoff expansion proposal criticized by two senators

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Thursday’s announcement that a College Football Playoff subcommittee is recommending an expansion to 12 teams from the current four seems almost certain to add a new element to the now full-volume debate over the treatment of athletes playing major-college sports.

An expansion of the CFP would trigger a massive increase in schools’ revenue from the event, and while that may be years away, the conversation about it now comes amid ongoing federal legislative actions concerning athletes’ compensation, as well as their health, safety and educational opportunities.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing that had been scheduled to focus on how best to craft a federal law that would expand athletes’ ability to make money from their name, image and likeness (NIL) through activities like endorsement deals, monetizing their social-media followings or getting paid for signing autographs. The NCAA has been pressing for a Congressional solution to an array of recently passed state NIL laws, seven of which would allow NIL activities by athletes, beginning July 1.

The CFP committee will consider a proposal to expand playoff to 12 teams.

But with the association also seeking protection from lawsuits connected to its athlete-compensation rules, several committee members focused their remarks and questions on health-care coverage for athletes and the NCAA’s safety standards, which are in the form of guidelines rather than enforceable rules.

In statements to USA TODAY Sports on Thursday night, two senators indicated that they viewed the CFP expansion proposal as problematic in the current environment for athletes.

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