Hopes fade for imminent federal deal on college athletes, pressuring N.C.A.A. (subscription)

Congress is not expected to move this month to override a crush of state laws that, as soon as July 1, will challenge the N.C.A.A. rules that have kept college athletes from making money off their fame.

The absence of an accord, or even a clear timeline for one, by the start of July would be a blow to the N.C.A.A. and its most influential and wealthy conferences, which have spent many months and millions of dollars seeking intervention from Washington. Although an agreement could still emerge this year, the prospects for a federal measure to advance before the state laws have gone from a long shot toward essentially nonexistent.

“I know that that date is imminent, so I think it’s probably safe to say something is not going to make it through the halls of Congress by that date,” Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington and the chair of the Senate committee that has been examining college sports issues, said after a hearing on Thursday. “But I do think that the deadline is continuing to put pressure on us to produce what that agreement could look like, and so I’m still hopeful that before we adjourn for the July Fourth recess, we’ll be able to say what the shape of that looks like.”

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