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Federal Judge Denies NCAA Request to Dismiss Lawsuit Related to NIL Compensation

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2021

DEARBORN, MI - MAY 15: General view of a NCAA logo painted on the grass during the 2021 NCAA Division II Women's  Golf Championship held at TPC Michigan on May 15, 2021 in Dearborn, Michigan. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken denied the NCAA's request to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the organization's ability to limit what amateur athletes can earn from their name, image and likeness rights, per Steve Berkowitz of USA Today. 

The suit is also seeking damages for "television-rights money and the social media earnings" amateur athletes could have earned without the NCAA's NIL restrictions, per Berkowitz.

It's the NCAA's second major loss in a week—the Supreme Court ruled against the organization on Monday in an antitrust case, ruling the NCAA could not set national limits for "education-related benefits athletes can receive for playing college sports," per Berkowitz.

Wilken ruled that the case had enough differences from the Alston case and Ed O'Bannon antitrust case to continue. 

The NCAA is currently seeking a national bill from Congress that would "override the array of state NIL laws that have been enacted over the past two years and give it protection from legal challenges to its athlete-compensation rules," and one that would "retroactively end the case at issue in Thursday's ruling," per Berkowitz.

But it also appears the NCAA is moving ahead with a plan that will allow individual schools to set their own NIL rules and restrictions, at least for the time being:

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

Memo from NCAA president Mark Emmert to administrators in all three Divisions (obtained by @TheAthletic) post-Alston says he is pushing for temporary guidance that will allow all athletes to monetize NIL as of July 1, as a bridge until there’s federal legislation: https://t.co/bqDW7qLkcL

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Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

One university director of compliance just texted me: ‘So, now I have one week to write up a policy for entire department. This is ridiculous.’” No, this is the NCAA. … https://t.co/MBpiGiN5wy

Jay Bilas @JayBilas

So, the NCAA is going to allow schools and states to fashion their own NIL rules? That means that everything the NCAA said about needing a uniform, national standard for fair competition was total BS. What a shocker. https://t.co/lCXcGGtkrG

Michael McCann @McCannSportsLaw

If NCAA's new plan to let schools decide their own NIL rules comes to pass--a plan that could lead to sizable rule differences across, and within, the 50 states--there would be a free market NCAA has long opposed. 2021 is the year of college sports change. https://t.co/OkvBHHH8Of

The case brought forward by Arizona State swimmer Grant House and Oregon women’s basketball player Sedona Prince could have enormous ramifications for the future of amateur sports if successful, namely because it could open the door for amateur athletes to make the claim they should receive a portion of the money from the television contracts in college sports. 

Changes are coming to amateur sports, of that there can be no doubt. Just how sweeping those changes will be has yet to be decided, and will likely be determined in the courts. 

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