March Legal Madness: The N.C.A.A. Will Appeal Recent Anti-Trust Decision

Following an earlier ruling this month by a Federal District Court, the N.C.A.A. announced on Saturday that they will appeal a ruling which found preventing student athletes from being paid in addition to scholarships and related athletic costs violates anti-trust law.  

Donald Remy, the N.C.A.A.’s chief legal officer, released a statement saying, “We believe, and the Supreme Court has recognized, that N.C.A.A. member schools and conferences are best positioned to strengthen and revise their rules to better support student-athletes, rather than forcing these issues into continuous litigation.”

This latest decision, from Judge Claudia Wilken in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, ended up succeeding plaintiffs’ hopes. Filed by a class of Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball and football players, the suit which led to the decision argued that the N.C.A.A.’s collegiate model, broadly known as “amateurism,” was illegal collusion, and requested the court to let specific conferences set up their own rules regarding payment caps and similar restrictions.

Judge Wilken agreed that the N.C.A.A.’s rules violated anti-trust laws, but in lieu of the plaintiffs’ proposal, she suggested that colleges should be allowed to provide athletes with necessary educational items, like computers. This would let the N.C.A.A. continue to place restrictions on cash payments in exchange for athletic costs, while allowing athletes to be further compensated for their education in ways beyond scholarships. In making her decision, she cited a similar ruling from 2015, out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, suggesting athletic payments be, “tethered to education.”

While the ruling was not a major blow for the N.C.A.A., Remy has stated the organization’s main goal at this point is to get the courts out of college athletics all together. “While the district court upheld the distinction between full-time students who play college sports and professional athletes, it erred by giving itself authority to micromanage decisions about education-related support,” he said.

Judge Wilken’s decision is the latest chapter in an ongoing battle between the N.C.A.A. and those that feel it should be illegal to prevent student athletes from being paid. In addition to violating anti-trust law, many feels this is unfair given the billions of dollars universities generate through their athletic programs every year.

Serving Your Anti-Trust Needs

As anyone currently enjoying March Madness knows, the N.C.A.A. is a force to be reckoned with. They are also a good example of how important it is to have experienced counsel on your side when going up against a powerful organization.

 At MR Civil Justice, our Dallas anti-trust attorneys are able to handle a range of business litigation needs. We know that these disputes can be complex, which is why our skilled legal team is here to make sure you have representation you can trust.

Contact an anti-trust lawyer today, at (214) 307-8387, or click here to schedule a free consultation

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