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Tennessee and Virginia Attorneys General Challenge NCAA’s NIL Rules in Federal Lawsuit

 |  January 31, 2024

The attorneys general of Tennessee and Virginia jointly filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Wednesday, accusing the organization of violating federal antitrust laws with its regulations surrounding name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights for college athletes.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, speaking to Knox News, emphasized the need to protect the rights of current and future Tennessee student-athletes across the state. “We sued to protect the rights of current and future Tennessee student-athletes from Memphis to Mountain City, from Union City to Unicoi County, from Covington to Cleveland, and everywhere in between,” Skrmetti stated, reported Yahoo News.

The crux of the 20-page lawsuit contends that the NCAA’s rules impede college athletes from receiving full compensation for their name, image, and likeness, thereby breaching federal antitrust laws. Notably, the suit asserts that Tennessee law explicitly prevents athletic associations, including the NCAA, from interfering with a college athlete’s ability to earn NIL compensation that aligns with the state’s regulations.

Source: The NCAA Faces New Antitrust Suit

As part of their legal strategy, the attorneys general are seeking an injunction that would temporarily halt the enforcement of the NCAA’s NIL rules, pending the resolution of the lawsuit. This move aims to provide immediate relief for college athletes affected by the alleged antitrust violations.

The timing of the lawsuit is particularly noteworthy, coming just one day after reports surfaced of the NCAA investigating the University of Tennessee for potential NIL-related recruiting violations. The NCAA’s rules strictly prohibit schools from utilizing NIL money as a means of recruiting prospective students.

Additionally, the Division I Council is currently deliberating on a proposed rule change that would further restrict NIL-related activities in the recruitment process. If approved, this new rule would prevent an NIL collective from negotiating, communicating, or providing benefits to recruits or transfers until after they have formally signed a letter of intent, enrolled at the respective school, or participated in team practices.

The legal battle between the attorneys general and the NCAA is expected to have significant implications for the future landscape of college athletics, especially concerning the rights and compensation of student-athletes.

Source: Sports Yahoo