FBS athletic directors have formed a political action committee to influence the federal government, and some believe the PAC will try to prevent college athletes from being paid.
LEAD1, an organization that represents the ADs at all 129 FBS programs, announced the formation of the PAC on Thursday. The PAC will be able to give financial support to candidates running for political office, as well as lobby Congress. SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner speculates the PAC will represent ADs in the fight against paying college athletes.
All 14 SEC ADs, as well as those from the rest of the Power 5 and Group of 5 conferences, are represented by LEAD1.
“With the PAC now approved, it further ensures that the concerns of the LEAD1 members will be heard by members of Congress, and other key decision makers in Washington, D.C. and across the country,” LEAD1 President and CEO Tom McMillen said in the announcement.
Meanwhile, Kirshner and others think the new PAC will try to influence federal law to prevent colleges from having to pay athletes, an issue that has created a lot of controversy in recent years.
“Let’s not overthink what ‘concerns’ these ADs might have,” Kirshner wrote Thursday. “This PAC is going to try to keep college athletes from getting paid.
“It could do that in lots of different ways. It could lobby against specific nominees for the National Labor Relations Board, whose members can ultimately decide things like who gets to unionize and who doesn’t. (This was a big deal in the case involving Northwestern football players in 2014.) It could lobby for or against congressional candidates, depending on how friendly they are to the cause.”
From the LEAD1 release:
Essential to the mission of the LEAD1 Association are influencing how the rules of college sports are enacted and implemented, advocating for the future of college athletics, and providing various services to the members, ranging from professional development to pooled purchasing arrangements. The mission statement of the LEAD1 Association is, “Supporting the athletic directors of America’s leading intercollegiate programs in preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders.”