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The Law and Economics of the NCAA’s Claim to Monopsony Rights

37 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2009 Last revised: 19 Sep 2015

Jeffrey Lynch Harrison

University of Florida - Levin College of Law

Casey C. Harrison

University of Florida

Date Written: September 1, 2009


This article considers the legal and economic implications of the NCAA monopsony power with respect to players in the two most financially lucrative college sports - football and basketball. The principal means of doing so is through the evaluation of three recent legal challenges to the NCAA. Those challenges are to limits on payments to players, limits on the number of players receiving payment, and the rights of players under scholarship with respect to payments for commercial use of their images. The focus is on two questions. First, under current interpretations of the antitrust laws, what would the likely results of these cases be if they reached a final substantive resolution based on the strict application of these interpretations? More generally, what are the limits to the NCAA’s use of monopsony power? The second question is whether there should be liability under the antitrust laws. This is a more complex question with the answer depending, in part, on whether the antitrust laws are to be applied to affect allocative or distributive outcomes.

Keywords: NCAA, antitrust, monopsony, exploitation

JEL Classification: K00, K21, K31

Suggested Citation

Harrison, Jeffrey Lynch and Harrison, Casey C., The Law and Economics of the NCAA’s Claim to Monopsony Rights (September 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Jeffrey Harrison (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

Casey Harrison

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

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