Amateurism is evolving and the NCAA is paying for it. With the NCAA’s focus set on preserving amateurism, it prohibited student–athlete compensation for any activity related to sports. However, college athletics are a lucrative business that generates its primary revenue from licensing Division I men’s basketball and FBS football players’ names, images, and likenesses. After years of criticism for its rules and regulations, the NCAA faced antitrust scrutiny from both former and current student–athletes. In 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the NCAA’s restrictions on student–athlete compensation violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. While the Court affirmed the decision to allow the NCAA to increase scholarships up to the full cost of attendance, it denied forcing the NCAA to allow student–athletes to receive cash payments.
The Ninth Circuit’s decision created a dilemma for the NCAA. Since the NCAA may no longer restrict student–athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses, it must determine how to compensate student–athletes while maintaining amateurism. Along with compensation, the NCAA faces issues with Title IX because the Court’s decision only allowed compensation for Division I men’s basketball and FBS football players. Further, when determining how to compensate student–athletes, the NCAA could face tax implications. Considering the O’Bannon decision along with the possible Title IX and tax consequences, the NCAA should incorporate performance-based scholarships to compensate student–athletes and preserve amateurism.
Modifying Amateurism: A Performance-Based Solution to Compensating Student–Athletes for Licensing Their Names, Images, and Likenesses,
Chi.-Kent J. Intell. Prop.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/ckjip/vol16/iss2/1