WASHINGTON D.C., DC — This Wednesday, Gonzaga men's basketball head coach Mark Few will be a witness in a United States Senate hearing on Name, Image and Likeness rights in college athletics.
The hearing, which is called NCAA Athletic NIL Rights, will address federal legislative proposals that would allow college athletes to monetize off their popularity.
Few will speak in front of Congress members and field questions on the subject.
This has been a hot topic for years as many have seen the need for reform when it comes to athletes making money off their name, image and likeness.
This is what's currently happening.
Several states are making their own NIL laws, in which they're allowing athletes to make money. A lot of that legislation would go into effect on July 1 of this year. Washington and Idaho aren't on those list of states.
Separately, the NCAA is working alongside Congress to come up with laws that would make rules applying to all athletes. They preferably do not want different athletes in different states functioning under different rules because it would create different playing fields in areas like recruiting.
The NCAA Division 1 Council will have a meeting on June 23 where it is expected they will act "if feasible" on rule changes.
Few's hearing will be a part of the NCAA seeking help from Congress to get this done.
Whys is he one of the witnesses? It could have to do with the fact that Washington senator Maria Cantwell is leading a group of senators in negotiations to get legislation done. The goal of their efforts is to take legislation selected from Democrat and Republican lawmakers to come up with a bipartisan solution.
Few seems to be in the middle of the two sides based on what he's said in the past. He spoke on the matter before, most notably in 2019 in an interview with Stadium reporter Jeff Goodman.
"If there was a way we could monetize likeness and regulate it in a way that it is fair to everybody, then I'm all for it," he said.
Few at the time was very opposed to the idea of states trying to come up with their own legislation on NIL. When he did that interview in 2019, he had some controversial comments when speaking about California Governor Gavin Newsom's involvement in the matter.
"What I find totally disappointing and disgusting is a governor is wasting his time on grandstanding around on something he doesn't understand, that .000001 percent of his constituents are probably going to be impacted by this," Few said. "He should stay in his lane like I tell my athletes. He should figure out homelessness. I think he's got a state that borders Mexico. He should get that mess figured out, the budget and things like that."
Few said at that time to let the people who deal with name, image and likeness consistently handle reforming it.
He will now enter that arena and join the legislation conversation publicly on Wednesday at 7 a.m. during that hearing.