Hey, guys, you know that whole “don’t blame the NCAA because the pros won’t take kids early” shtick that lamely attempts to absolve the schools from responsibility regarding compensation? I mean, it’s not like the NCAA wants these kids to be screwed, right?
What is less known among sports fans, however, is that during the appeal of Clarett’s case to the appellate court, the NCAA’s lawyers filed an amicus brief supporting the NFL’s position in favor of its age requirement.
In the NCAA’s own words, it argued that the district court’s ruling that would have allowed football players to leave college early for the NFL “is counterproductive to the NCAA’s … goals and to the best interests of its student-athletes.” The NCAA brief also argued that overturning the NFL age requirement would “impede any such sports league governing body from adopting eligibility rules, which would undermine each association’s definition of its unique model of competitive athletics.”
According to the NCAA’s brief, it purports to have involved itself voluntarily in the Clarett case for two reasons, “[t]he factual interest in encouraging its student-athletes to stay in school,” and a “legal interest in immunizing eligibility rules from antitrust challenge.”
The brief was signed by Gregory L. Curtner, who remains to this day the NCAA’s primary antitrust counsel on a wide range of matters — including the ongoing In Re Student-Athlete Name & Likenesses Licensing Litigation, in which Ed O’Bannon and other retired college athletes have sought to overturn aspects of the NCAA amateurism rules.
One reason the NCAA keeps pushing its bullshit about amateurism is because it knows there are plenty of folks out there who are willing to swallow it.