Ted Cruz Mar 2, 2023; National Harbor, MD, USA; Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on March 2, 2023. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

There’s a strong and growing belief that college student-athletes – specifically those who play revenue-generating sports like football and basketball – should be treated as employees of the university and receive the benefits that come along with that employment status, including compensation. But Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas does not agree with that idea.

During a recent congressional hearing about the NCAA’s policies on name, image, and likeness, Ted Cruz made it clear that he does not support the idea of making college athletes employees of the university for a number of reasons.

“There’s a big debate over whether student-athletes should be considered employees or not,” Cruz said during the congressional hearing this week. “I believe that would be a very serious mistake.”

“It would subject scholarships to taxation,” Cruz continued. “It would subject student-athletes to all sorts of wage and hour regulations. It would mean if suddenly you have a receiver who drops a bunch of passes, you could be fired and lose your scholarship. All of that seems really bad for college athletics.”

It’s worth noting that much of what Cruz described regarding players getting fired or losing their scholarships is already effectively happening in college sports, particularly in FBS football. The only difference is that currently, players also don’t have the protections that would come along with employment status.

[Ted Cruz]