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US: NCAA Faces Antitrust Suit Over Bowl Game Decertification

 |  November 25, 2018

The NCAA will face a Hawaii antitrust suit over its decertification of the 2003 Seattle Bowl, the Hawaii Supreme Court decided.

Aloha Sports showed the NCAA’s allegedly anticompetitive behavior could negatively affect the Bowl market and it was harmed by that behavior, the November 20 opinion by Justice Richard Pollack stated.

Aloha Sports sponsored the Oahu Bowl in Hawaii, but in 2001 the game was moved to Seattle.

After the NCAA had concerns about the way Aloha Sports operated the 2002 Seattle Bowl, Aloha Sports tried to sell its sponsorship rights to Pro Sports and Entertainment. The sale was contingent on the game being recertified.

The NCAA refused to recertify the game, but told Pro Sports privately it could submit its own application to sponsor the 2004 Seattle Bowl. Pro Sports backed out of its deal with Aloha Sports.

The NCAA’s conduct was an unfair method of competition in violation of Hawaii’s antitrust law, Aloha Sports claimed.

Aloha Sports showed the NCAA knew about the impending sale, expressed concerns about Aloha Sports’s owner staying involved in the bowl game after the sale was completed, and told Pro Sports independently it could seek its own certification, the court stated.

That could suggest the NCAA unfairly decertified the 2003 Seattle Bowl to disrupt Aloha Sports’s sale to Pro Sports, the court stated. It also created an issue whether the NCAA’s conduct negatively affected competition among bowl sponsors, it stated.

Full Content: Bloomberg
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