Alston v. NCAA: Applying Antitrust Law to the Billion Dollar World of College Sports
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The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the antitrust case of Alston v. NCAA on March 31, 2021. The case calls for the Court to apply Rule of Reason analysis to the current world of Division I college sports, specifically football and basketball, which generate billions in annual revenue for the NCAA and its member colleges and universities due to the athletic labor of athletes. However, current interpretations of the Rule of Reason permit the NCAA and its member's schools to agree on limiting what players can be compensated for their athletic labor. The NCAA has, to date, successfully argued that amateurism - not paying college athletes for their work so as to maintain a division in the public's mind between the NFL, the NBA, and college sports - is a legally sufficient procompetitive justification.
Even as the NCAA maintains this position, the competitive environment is quickly changing. Several states have recently passed laws expressly permitting college players to make money from the exploitation of their name and likeness. Federal bills have been put forth in Congress. And new private enterprises for talented high school basketball players seek to avoid the NCAA route to the NBA. These new entities include Overtime Elite, the Professional Collegiate League, and the NBA's G-League Ignite. For antitrust lawyers, these new entrants, which are paying talented high school basketball players $100,000 to $500,000, may well seem like classic forces of competition.
In this program, attorneys K. Braeden Anderson, Patrick A. Bradford, Tillman Breckenridge, and Christopher Wilson will review and analyze the Supreme Court's decision, expected inJune 2021, and explore the impact this decision will have not only on college sports but also on other cases involving coordinated conduct by other associations and member organizations.
This program will benefit Sports lawyers and Antitrust lawyers, as well as any attorneys who enjoy watching college sports and want to learn more about the conditions under which college athletes play ball.
Identify the per se violations of Section I of the Sherman Act versus Rule of Reason Analysis in the context of Associations
Apply the Rule of Reason Analysis to the facts of NCAA v. Alston
Review the Procompetitive Justifications in the Rule of Reason Context for Section 1 of the Sherman Act.
Differentiate the Procompetitive Justifications in Section I antitrust jurisprudence from their application in Clayton Act Section 7 jurisprudence
Consider the appropriateness of using procompetitive Justifications in collateral markets
Discuss the potential implications of the Supreme Court's decision in Alston
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