Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Joseph Davison


A group of former and current football and men’s basketball players, led by ex-UCLA basketball star Edward O’Bannon, brought an antitrust suit against the NCAA in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Their goal was to obtain an injunction ending the NCAA’s rules preventing players from being paid for the use of their names, images, or likenesses. Relying in large part on a 1984 Supreme Court case, NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, the NCAA claimed that there are specific procompetitive justifications for the restrictions, namely, amateurism and competitive balance. The district court found that the alleged procompetitive justifications did not excuse the challenged restraints, a decision that the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld. Such rulings are contradictory to the fundamental principles of antitrust law and have the potential to eliminate the college sports product entirely.

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