I confess. As much as I ascribe low motives to the NCAA’s stance on amateurism, one particular play didn’t dawn on me until I read this piece ($$) in The Athletic.
On Tuesday, the NCAA’s board of governors voted to direct its three divisions to consider updating their bylaws by January 2021 to allow NCAA athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness rights. The announcement doesn’t immediately grant NCAA athletes the right to profit off of their publicity rights and remain eligible, but opens the door to each division amending its bylaws to grant that right.
The announcements mean the NCAA faces a battle to be the sole entity capable of selling NCAA athletes’ group licensing rights. [Emphasis added.]
Damn, I should have seen that one coming. “Sure, kids, we’ll let you monetize your NIL rights, but only if Mark Emmert calls the shots on the contracts.” Now, there’s a deal. And how would the NCAA do it?
Experts believe the NCAA will wage a legal battle over the right to represent NCAA athletes in group licensing deals.
“The NCAA is reasonably likely to launch a counter campaign against the NFLPA’s licensing efforts and make all types of legal threats against the players, including potentially those that would be unenforceable as a matter of law,” said Baruch College sport law professor Marc Edelman. “The most likely threat would be to deem any college athlete who were to sign an agreement to allocate their group licensing rights ineligible to compete in college sports.”
According to Edelman, such a threat opens the NCAA up to potential antitrust litigation.
That counter campaign is gonna be lit.