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NY AG Joins Suit Challenging NCAA’s Restrictions on Student Athlete NIL Rights

 |  May 1, 2024

New York Attorney General Letitia James has united with a bipartisan multistate coalition in a legal battle against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), challenging its regulations on prospective student athletes’ ability to capitalize on their name, image and likeness (NIL). The lawsuit targets the NCAA’s prohibition on student athletes reviewing NIL compensation offers before committing to a college, arguing that it hampers competition among universities and curtails athletes’ earning potential.

The coalition, comprising attorneys general from various states, asserts that the NCAA’s NIL rule inhibits students from comprehensively evaluating their options and restricts their freedom to select a college that aligns with their athletic and career aspirations. Attorney General James emphasized, “New York student athletes are some of the best in the country, and they should be able to make decisions about their athletic career without restrictions.”

Related: College Sports Leaders in Intensive Talks to Settle NIL Antitrust Case Against NCAA

NIL opportunities, encompassing endorsements, social media promotions, merchandise deals and more, present significant earning potential for student athletes. However, the NCAA’s rule, implemented in 2021, mandates athletes to commit to a college before exploring NIL opportunities, limiting their ability to negotiate effectively and compare offers from different institutions.

The lawsuit highlights the detrimental impact of the NCAA’s rule on student athletes’ decision-making process. It illustrates a scenario where a highly sought-after athlete is unable to discuss potential compensation with collectives associated with universities before committing to a school. This lack of transparency diminishes the athlete’s bargaining power and disincentivizes colleges from offering competitive deals.

New York, with its diverse array of colleges and universities, including 23 Division I institutions, passed legislation in 2022 safeguarding student athletes’ rights to earn NIL compensation.

Syracuse University Athletic Director John Wildhack expressed support for reforms benefiting student athletes, affirming the institution’s commitment to advocating for their rights.

Source: AG NY Gov