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Mark Emmert Asks Senate To Grant NCAA Antitrust Protections

 |  July 23, 2020

NCAA president Mark Emmert appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, July 22, to argue for federal legislation governing athletes’ ability to get endorsement and sponsorship money.

The NCAA has shifted its position on endorsements and sponsorships as states like California and Florida have passed laws allowing college players to receive third-party income. The NCAA has stated that it wants to modify its name, image, and likeness rules ahead of the 2021-22 seasons, but it’s repeatedly stated that it would like an assist from Congress to pass a legislative framework for the NCAA’s rules. And as part of that framework, Emmert and the NCAA would like Congress to grant antitrust protection.

“The history of antitrust lawsuits brought against the association over the last several decades reveals that federal antitrust law has also consistently been used as a tool to undermine the association’s collective efforts to modernize its rules. While these lawsuits have, for the most part, been unsuccessful, the association has been required to devote valuable resources to defending them, resources that could have been far better spent on supporting student-athletes, as has been highlighted by the growing financial impact of the current global pandemic. The NCAA recognizes and has respect that it should not be immune from antitrust scrutiny in all of its actions. But, likewise, it is untenable for NCAA rules to be judged as unlawful and subject to repetitive antitrust lawsuits every time the NCAA makes a rule change. Without appropriate protections, these antitrust challenges will continue — as evidenced by the most recent NIL class-action lawsuit filed against the association just last month — and will interfere with the association’s ability to effectively nd efficiently support the evolving needs of student-athletes.

“These legal and legislative impediments threaten the ability of the association’s modernization efforts to be fully realized. Thus, on behalf of the NCAA Board of Governors and the association’s 1,100 member schools, I respectfully seek Congress’ assistance to preserve the opportunity for college athletes to participate in fair and uniform national competition, ensure student-athletes remain students and not employees of a university and protect the association from ongoing litigation related to its efforts to update rules associated with NIL. We are hopeful that, with your partnership on this issue, our member schools can continue to provide opportunities for and enhance the experiences of the nearly 500,000 student-athletes who participate in college sports each year.”

The NCAA stated when it announced potential changes to its name, image, and likeness rules that there were a lot of things to sort out before the 2021 football season begins. It’s counting on Congress to provide a lot of help.

Full Content: Yahoo, New York Times

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