The Future of Amateurism after Antitrust Scrutiny: Why a Win for the Plaintiffs in the NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation Will Not Lead to the Demise of College Sports
38 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2014 Last revised: 8 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
On June 21, 2009, twelve former Division I student-athletes filed an antitrust complaint against the National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA"), alleging that the NCAA rules that prevent student-athletes from controlling the commercial rights to their names and likenesses violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act. In response, the NCAA has argued that its restraints on student-athlete names and likenesses serve the necessary purpose of maintaining competitive balance in college sports. In addition, the NCAA has asserted that if its nationwide restraints are overturned, it would financially "destroy college sports for the vast majority of student-athletes."
This article analyzes the pertinent legal issues in the NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, and explains why a plaintiffs’ victory would not lead to the demise of college sports as the NCAA suggests. Part I of this article provides a history of the college sports marketplace, including its historic governance structure and its transition of economic power from individual colleges to the NCAA. Part II discusses the NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation in terms of its procedural history and core legal principles. Part III explains why a win for the plaintiffs in the NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation would not truly destroy competitive balance in college sports. Finally, Part IV explains why a win for the plaintiffs similarly would not destroy the financial viability of college sports.
Keywords: NCAA, amateurism, antitrust, antitrust law, sports, sports law, National Collegiate Athletic Association, O'Bannon, Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing, right of publicity, education policy, athletics
JEL Classification: K21, K31, K42, L12, L13, L40, L41, L43, L44, L49, L50, L82, L83, Z10, I00, J42, J58, K10, K21, K31
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