Why NCAA v. Alston has limited effect on NIL Legislation in Congress

$5,980. This is the NCAA's limit on academic graduation cash and awards. The NCAA's appeal of the 9th Circuit's ruling in Alston v. NCAA reached U.S. Supreme Court oral argument this week. The NCAA had to regret this appeal with all justices save for Justice Breyer critical of its arguments. The NCAA's core argument is that its current system of college athletics does not violate antitrust law due to amateurism. The NCAA has no antitrust exemption.

The obvious inequities of athletes were pointed out by several justices who cited the $5,980 education-related award potential is dwarfed by both coaches salaries and television contracts. The NCAA also faced well-founded questions about its price fixing in a market with no labor competition. Justice Kavanaugh pointed out that salaries and coaches' contracts are only funded by a unpaid labor force.

The justices asked Alston's lawyer Jeffrey Kessler about this case's potential impact on collective bargaining and further litigation, but the only decision before the Supreme Court relates to $5,980 in eduction-related expenses. The vast majority of NIL legislation centers around endorsements for athletic performance. Thus, the Supreme Court's decision and its timing of opinion release will be interesting to watch with Florida's statute going into effect July 1, but it is not likely to overreach the question presented to such a degree as to substantially impact legislation for college athletes' right of publicity.

Categories: Sports Law