Connecticut's two U.S. senators are pushing for tweaks to federal law that would allow international college athletes - including some of UConn's top men's and women's basketball players - to profit off their name, image and likeness the way other athletes currently do.

Currently, international students typically refrain from sponsorship deals and other NIL opportunities because accepting them might compromise their student visa status.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal told CT Insider on Tuesday he is preparing a letter asking the Department of Homeland Security to revise its visa policies so that students athletes - and possibly others on student visas, such as artists or musicians - could profit from endorsement deals and other NIL opportunities.

"They should be given some opportunity to take advantage of their name, image and likeness just like American students," Blumenthal said. "The details have to be resolved in a way that preserves the basic integrity of the student visa process but at the same time opens these opportunities to foreign students, because depriving them of any and all opportunities seems desperately unfair."

Blumenthal said he plans to send his letter to homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as soon as Wednesday and that he plans to ask Mayorkas about college-athlete visas at a hearing next week.

In a statement, Sen. Chris Murphy said he also would support a change to federal laws that would allow international student athletes to profit.

"At a minimum, international athletes deserve to be able to use their own Name, Image, and Likeness just like their teammates without worrying about losing their visa status or ability to earn a degree in this country," Murphy said.

The question of international students and NIL rights drew attention last weekend when a reporter asked UConn men's basketball standout Adama Sonago, who is from the African nation of Mali, his thoughts on not being able to profit while in college. Sanogo said he wasn't too concerned, but his teammate Jordan Hawkins interjected that the situation seemed "really unfair."

Later, UConn men's basketball coach Dan Hurley, women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and athletic director David Benedict all said they'd like to see changes that would allow international athletes to cash in. The school's women's hoops team currently has four international starters, all of whom might have endorsement opportunities if permitted.

"We need to get the law changed or provide them the opportunity to get the same type of visa a professional athlete receives," Benedict tweeted. "Otherwise opportunities will be very limited."

Though international students can't sign endorsement deals like other athletes, UConn and other schools have found loopholes to get them some cash. Auriemma noted that athletes can profit when out of the country, and Sanogo said the school had sponsored a camp in Mali last summer to help children there.

Additionally, international athletes can receive passive income, such as through the sale of their jerseys at a team store, as long as they don't actively promote sales.

For Sanogo and others on student visas to profit from the full range of NIL opportunities available to their teammates, the Department of Homeland Security would have to tweak or clarify its visa rules, or Congress would need to pass a law changing them.

Both Connecticut senators have been among the most vocal national lawmakers on the subject of college sports reform. Blumenthal has pushed a "College Athletes Bill of Rights" that would tighten Title IX provisions around gender equity, enshrine NIL rights nationwide and establish a medical trust fund to help ex-athletes.

Murphy, meanwhile, has advocated that college athletes be classified as employees of their universities, allowing them to collectively bargain over their rights.

"For far too long, college athletics have been ruled by an unfair status quo where coaches, the NCAA, and Division I programs made staggering revenues while many of their athletes could hardly afford to eat or buy their parents a plane ticket to see them perform," he said in his statement Tuesday. "Luckily the tide is finally starting to turn."