WASHINGTON (AP) — As Congress considers whether to allow college athletes to receive endorsement money, the NCAA and its allies spent at least $750,000 last year lobbying lawmakers to shape any reforms to the organization’s liking.

The NCAA last fall said it would allow athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness” and is crafting rules to put in place for its 1,100 member schools. But the organization has turned to Congress to step in as more and more states follow the lead of California, where a law set to take effect in 2023 clears the way for athletes to earn endorsement money.

Organizations representing athletes have no paid lobbyists, leading to concern among some reform advocates that the deep-pocketed NCAA is shaping the debate. The NCAA’s pressure campaign comes as the Senate prepares for a committee hearing Tuesday on player compensation.

The NCAA spent $450,000 last year on lobbying, according to disclosure forms reviewed by the AP. Of that total, $240,000 went to an outside firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, and $210,000 went to its in-house lobbyists. That’s the most the organization has spent on lobbying in any year since 2014. And it got some help from two of the Power Five conferences.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12 Conference.

In total, the NCAA and the two conferences spent at least $750,000 on lobbying last year.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Enter your email to receive the latest news, contests, concert announcements and more directly to your inbox!