Four athletes filed an antitrust complaint today on the eve of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament seeking to bar the association and five “power conferences” from enforcing rules that ban colleges from competing financially for players and limit payments to tuition and related fees.
The antitrust suit, if successful, may lead to bidding wars for top high-school talent. It joins a separate case, scheduled for trial in June, in which athletes seek to overturn an NCAA rule barring college players from profiting from their names, images and likenesses.
Plaintiff’s counsel ain’t exactly some jackleg, either.
Kessler has an extensive history working with professional player unions such as the NFL and NBA Players’ Associations, and helped represent the NFLPA in the landmark 1992 antitrust case in which NFL players won free agency.
Sooner or later, enough of these suits drop and the NCAA loses one. That’s why I’m guessing somebody’s hard at work on lobbying Congress to give college athletics an antitrust exemption. It’s easier than compromising, right?
Not that anyone at the NCAA is ready to explain anything. As usual,
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn declined to immediately comment on the lawsuit.
At least Stacey, unlike the players, is getting paid.