About a year ago, we wrote about a class-action challenge to the exploitative NCAA
rule requiring college athletes to essentially turn over the rights to their names and
likenesses to the NCAA during their prime college playing years.
This year, on the eve of March Madness, another proposed class-action case was filed
in federal court in New Jersey. The Plaintiffs essentially claim that the NCAA and its five
major conferences are acting in collusion to stop top tier college basketball and football
players from earning more money than their respective scholarship amounts.
Although, the new case makes a strong challenge to the collusive activity under the
Clayton and Sherman Acts, the U.S. Supreme Court precedent of NCAA v. Board of
Regents of the University of Oklahoma, 468 U.S. 85 (1984), will be a substantial obstacle
for the plaintiffs to overcome. In the OU case, a majority held that the NCAA has
substantial discretion to set rules to maintain the pre-professional status of college
athletes and the “revered tradition of amateurism.”
There are several other legal obstacles the Plaintiffs will have to surmount, including the
parity provisions of Title IX and the Plaintiffs’ exclusive focus on the sports of basketball
and football, but, at minimum, it is another positive sign that the war against NCAA
exploitation is far from over.