From White House visits to NCAA reform, what should sports expect from a Joe Biden administration?

From White House visits to NCAA reform, what should sports expect from a Joe Biden administration?

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Illustration: Getty Images

President Biden doesn’t seem to care about sports as much as his predecessor, and that’s probably a good thing.

Sure, Biden is a noted Philadelphia sports fan, a ’Cuse alum, and a former high school football star. He even plays a little golf. But I doubt Biden will use sports as a political tool in the ways we’ve seen the past four years.

The new administration promised “normalcy,” but there could be a series of decisions that could shake up the sports world.

Let’s take a look at a few.

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College Athletics

College Athletics

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Illustration: Getty Images

Over the summer, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) told Deadspin, “I just think it’s time for us to recognize that student-athletes in big-time college sports are getting abused.” So, could 2021 be the year Congress finally does something about it? Perhaps.

Last month, Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) formally introduced the “College Athletes Bill of Rights.” With a new Democratic Senate majority and some bipartisan support for name image and likeness legislation, the bill, or some version of it, could pass.

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White House Visits

White House Visits

Illustration for article titled From White House visits to NCAA reform, what should sports expect from a Joe Biden administration?
Image: Getty Images

Once upon a time, visiting the White House was an honor most pro teams and athletes would never pass up. That all changed with the previous administration.

No NBA champion went to the Trump White House, the Eagles Super Bowl team also took a pass, and Trump rarely invited women’s teams to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate their titles.

Expect the tradition of teams going back to the White House to return. Sure, there may be another athlete like Tim Thomas, who refused to go to the Obama White House because, as he put it, “the Federal government has grown out of control,” and threatens “the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.” But those cases are exceedingly rare. Plus even very Trumpy owners like Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft attended White House ceremonies with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, respectively.

Oh, and when Biden invites the first team to the White House, you can expect better food than McDonalds or Chick-fil-A.

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Transgender Access to Youth Athletics

Transgender Access to Youth Athletics

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On his first full day in office, Joe Biden reinstated Obama era Title IX guidelines, “which will restore transgender students’ access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.”

The Obama/Biden guidelines were revoked in 2017 in the second month of the Trump administration. Since then, Trump has been quick to weaken transgender protections in sports, the military, healthcare and other areas.

“Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love,” the Executive Order states. “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.

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‘Equal Pay’

‘Equal Pay’

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Before competing in the 2019 World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation. As of December, the team settled part of their lawsuit but the fight for equal pay rolls on.

After a judge dismissed the U.S. Women’s National soccer team’s equal pay demands in May, candidate Biden said, as President, he would pull World Cup funding from U.S. Soccer if it does not guarantee “equal pay, now.”

Trump told The Hill in 2019 that he hasn’t “taken a position on [equal pay] at all.” Now, with Megan Rapinoe and other stars excited about the new administration, it sure looks like the USWNT finally has an economic ally in the White House.

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COVID Vaccinations

COVID Vaccinations

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You may be able to get a vaccine at your local ballpark. In a new national strategy to combat COVID-19, Biden announced a vaccination plan that includes stadiums. These large event spaces are conducive to social distancing and can offer thousands of inoculations per day. The Mets’ Citi Field, Dodger Stadium, and the Astros’ Minute Maid Park, and others have already started vaccinating.

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Online Poker

Online Poker

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Screenshot: WSOP.com

In 2019, candidate Biden told CDC Gaming Reports that he, “doesn’t support adding unnecessary restrictions to the gaming industry like the Trump Administration has done.” And yesterday, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling of the Wire Act. According to pokernews.com, the ruling will clear the way for online poker legalization — and it doesn’t seem like Biden will have a problem with it.

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Sports Gambling

Sports Gambling

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Like online poker, sports gambling is determined by the states, and more states are legalizing sports betting each year. But major sports leagues want the federal government to impose regulations on the industry. New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) want to create federal sports gaming legislation and oversight as well. As sports gambing continues to accelerate, expect the federal gov’t to get more involved at some point.

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Outdoor Sports

Outdoor Sports

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Professional snowboarder, Jeremy Jones, started POW (Protect Our Winters) in 2007. The non-profit organization is made up of adventure athletes, scientists, and local communities to fight for climate policies that benefit sports such as rock climbing, skiing, trail running, and more. The new administration hasn’t said anything specific about outdoor or winter sports yet. But Biden has already signed executive orders pleasing climate activists.

Within the first 24 hours of his administration, the President rejoined the Paris Agreement and canceled the Keystone XL pipeline.

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World Cup 2026

World Cup 2026

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If re-elected, Biden-Harris would be the first presidential administration to oversee a Men’s World Cup since Clinton-Gore in 1994. FIFA awarded the 2026 World Cup to the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, but the U.S. will host a majority of the matches, with 60 games, while Mexico and Canada will get 10 each.

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Olympic Games

Olympic Games

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Before the U.S. hosts its ninth Olympics in 2028, the new administration could play a role in the next two Games. Tokyo 2021 could be the first post-pandemic global event … or not. But if COVID is still a major international health threat, will the U.S. government encourage athletes to stay home? And with escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, is an Olympic boycott in 2022 on the horizon?

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