See Credit Details Below
The NCAA made dire predictions about the consequences for college sports if the Supreme Court failed to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s decision holding that the NCAA’s restrictions on compensation of student-athletes violated federal antitrust laws. Specifically, the NCAA warned that the Ninth Circuit’s decision would “vitiate the distinction between college and professional sports,” and threaten the “cherished American institution” of amateur, college sports. The NCAA also warned that the Ninth Circuit’s application of the Rule of Reason would threaten “procompetitive joint ventures more generally, to the detriment of consumers and business alike.” Now that the Supreme Court has affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s decision and its application of the Rule of Reason to the challenged NCAA rules, how likely is it that these dire predictions will come to pass? This Briefing will examine the Supreme Court’s decision and the likely consequences for college sports specifically, and for joint ventures more broadly. In particular, it will explore the roadmap the opinion offers for plaintiffs and defendants in future antitrust litigation involving NCAA rules specifically and commercial joint ventures more broadly.
Topics to be addressed include:
- Background of the case: How did we get here? In particular, what was the path from the Supreme Court’s decisions in NCAA v. Board of Regents (1984) and American Needle v. National Football League (2010) that led to the Supreme Court's decision in NCAA v. Alston? (15 minutes)
- Interests implicated by the dispute: What were the interests and positions of the parties and the many amici who submitted briefs in the case, including economists, academics, current and former college athletes, professional athletes, and states on both sides of the dispute? (15 minutes)
- Examining the opinion: What was the holding and what are the likely consequences for college sports? What are the implications for application of the Rule of Reason in future antitrust challenges to NCAA rules specifically and to commercial joint ventures more generally? (15 minutes)
- Roadmap for future litigants: What guidance does the opinion provide to plaintiffs and defendants in future antitrust litigation involving NCAA rules or commercial joint ventures? (15 minutes)
William S. D. Cravens, Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP