Following Monday’s gutting of its authority by the U.S. Supreme Court, the NCAA needs to work through the five stages of grief, quickly.
Currently, the governing body of college sports seems to be stuck firmly in denial.
Via Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal, NCAA president Mark Emmert wants the D-I Council (which convened yesterday and will meet again today) to pass name, image and likeness rules that will apply to all member institutions. Per the report, Emmert wants “new NIL rules that will be more restrictive than the six state laws that take effect July 1.”
That would be a gigantic mistake, a total misreading of Monday’s 9-0 unanimous decision and the clear warning from the concurring opinion filed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“The one thing this 9-0 decision made clear is the NCAA is fully subject to the antitrust laws,” attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who represented the plaintiffs in the landmark case, tells Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal. “It has no special exemption for amateurism. . . . To the extent the NCAA imposes NIL restrictions, new limitations, yeah, you can bet somebody is going to scrutinize it and probably file a case over it.”
Indeed they will. With the Supreme Court making it clear that the entire business model is a ruse built on amateur athletics and aimed at not fairly sharing the wealth with those who primarily generate it, the extension of that effort to promote amateurism — preventing the athletes from separately generating revenue through their fame — CLEARLY violates the law, as articulated by the highest court in the nation.
“A number of conferences are pushing the NCAA to basically back out of all of it, and let the individual schools set their own names, images and likeness policies,” Kessler told Mullen. “Let each school decide its own rules and get out of all of this regulation.”
That’s exactly what the NCAA should do. Even conferences that set rules create risks of antitrust violations. Collusion claims also could be made if these schools coincidentally end up with the exact same rules. That’s because all rules limiting free enterprise for student athletes create risk in the wake of Monday’s decision. It creates an existential threat for the NCAA, a governing body which in many ways can no longer govern if its efforts to do so represent clear and obvious antitrust violations.
“If the NCAA can’t even enforce its own rules, what purpose does it serve?” a high-ranking college administrator told Smith.
“It’s time to wave the white flag,” another told Smith. “We need to adapt to the new laws of the land. . . . The NCAA can’t keep operating from the same old playbook.”
That’s the correct view. If, however, there’s nothing for the NCAA to do under the new laws of the land, there’s no reason for the NCAA to continue, at least not in its current form.
It shouldn’t. The NCAA has been the mechanism of rules and regulations that has allowed hundreds of colleges and universities to hide behind a faςade of amateurism FOR DECADES in order to deny fair compensation to those who play what has become professional sports without professional athletes.
The game is over. The NCAA is dead. And it looks like the NCAA will be the last one to acknowledge that which anyone else with a functioning brain realizes.
NCAA in apparent denial about impact of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling originally appeared on Pro Football Talk