the BigAmateurism monologues

A series of events over the last 18 months—some unforeseeable—have created a perfect storm that will change college sports forever. The NCAA's bait an…
Apr 16th, 2021 | 57:28

The Alston Guessing Game

How will the US Supreme Court rule in Alston? Predicting how courts may rule is always treacherous terrain, particularly with the US Supreme Court. Will the US Supreme Court throw us a curveball? In this episode, I look at four possible outcomes: (1) direct or indirect antitrust immunity for the NCAA in cases challenging their amateurism-based compensation limits; (2) an affirmance of the 9th Circuit’s decision (and the district court’s injunction permitting modest education-related benefits) under a full rule of reason antitrust analysis; (3) sending the case back for further action; and (4) rejection of amateurism as a defense to antitrust liability, opening the door to a free market for the value of athletes’ services. I discuss the likely impact of each of these outcomes and how the NCAA and Power 5 might respond. I frame the Alston case in the context of the significant milestones in the athletes’ rights movement since 2006, none of which has resulted in a meaningful change in the relationship between revenue-producing athletes and in-system stakeholder-beneficiaries. Also, I discuss how the quest for antitrust immunity fits into the NCAA and Power 5’s broader campaign to completely eliminate any external regulatory threats to the status quo business model.