NCAA Has Anything Really Changed

Updated: February 1, 2008


It could be the first victory in a very long war or one smart move by the NCAA to protect its “franchise” What we are talking about is a recent $10Million settlement deal the NCAA made to make an Anti-Trust law suit go away before a possible verdict caused them real damage. The fact is and always has been were sports “leagues” required to ‘play’ by even the very lenient rules that all other businesses in the U.S. must adhere it……

………. would be a very different Sports World. But beginning with Baseball way back early in the 20th century the Federal government and the Courts have provided these sports “leagues” exemptions from law that has led to massive abuse of citizens in general and players specifically. No where more than in college sports.

In every case it ultimately comes down to the ability for these teams and leagues and schools to ignore laws that prevent businesses ( to an extent anyway) from joining in various binding arrangements that limit the ability of others to either compete or to bring legal action for their ignoring basic rights under law.

College so called student athletes are at the forefront and have long been. Colleges and specifically the NCAA can promulgate whatever restrictions or arbitrary rules it wishes preventing student athletes from doing virtually anything it does not want and most of all prevent the student athletes from reaping financial gain.

In this suit a number of former student athletes went into Federal Court claiming that their former colleges did not provide them all the benefits to which they were entitled under their scholarships which they agreed to in return for playing either football or basketball. To wit they claimed they were mislead in believing their scholarships would really cover all the expenses of attending the college when it did not. Only tuition.

In the settlement current student athletes can apply but are not guaranteed that funds they need to attend their college beyond the payment of their tuition will be provided them. Former student athletes can claim but are not guaranteed reimbursement for previous out of pocket expenses beyond the tuition they received.

What the NCAA is worried about if they are really worried about anything is some “renegade” judge or jury that rules that the NCAA is subject to the same anti-trust and restraint of trade laws as any other business. That in effect the NCAA is a BUSINESS not some not-for-profit do good association of institutions of higher (sic) learning.

Here in the Real World You have to be a True Optimist to believe the NCAA will ever really lose As proven “perfectly” by the increasingly forgotten Maurice Clarett case. In his case the Federal Judge ruled very forcefully in a brilliant decision that the NFL was restraining trade by colluding with the NCAA to require college student athletes remain in school 3 years before applying for the NFL draft. A decision that while different than the current case would have had the same impact to cost the NCAA and the colleges MONEY as students turned pro rather than play college ball for FREE.

So what happened In the blink of an eye the Federal Appeals Court in a unanimous decision over turned the Clarett decision ruling in favor of the NFL and the NCAA. Followed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to even consider an appeal. The lesson is that if somehow the NCAA or the pro sports leagues lose in the Lower Court NO problem it will be over-turned.

Now if you don’t want to be a Pure Cynic there is good logic to fighting on and various parties bringing more and more suits for lots of different reasons against the NCAA. There is a case to be made that a massive assault on the Court system might actually eventually win in spite of the odds as evolutionary reality catches up to the Courts.

There was a time when Court after Court ruled again and again Slavery was legal under law and the situation hopeless until they were forced to rule otherwise even if it took a Civil War the battle continues