O’BANNON: Expanding NCAA Student-Athlete Rights of Publicity and Foreshadowing the Downfall of Amateurism (Law Review Note)

This past academic year, I drafted a law review article designed to dismantle the NCAA’s current system that relies on “amateurism” to justify withholding monetary compensation from student-athletes. While the draft has been submitted to outside publications, check it out here in the mean time.

Abstract

Beginning in the 1950s, the National College Athletic Association (“NCAA”) transformed from a non-profit organization designed to provide rules to protect players from the brutality of football into a multi-billion-dollar machine utilizing the labor of student-athletes to generate millions of dollars of revenue for its member schools while athletes fail to reap the rewards. As college football and men’s basketball gained popularity and developed lucrative markets, the NCAA continued to legitimize pocketing the spoils while restricting player compensation through its self-designed concept of “amateurism.” This Note examines the development of commercialism in intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA’s rules perpetuating control of its financial windfall, and recent push back from former student-athletes through right of publicity and antitrust lawsuits in the Ninth Circuit. This Note analyzes the two related seminal cases, In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation and O’Bannon v. NCAA, forecasting future claims by student-athletes in light of these decisions to topple the NCAA and its member schools’ stranglehold on the exploits of its students while advocating for changes to the NCAA system.

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