Monday, June 17, 2013

The importance of Thursday's class certification hearing in the NCAA student-athlete likeness antitrust litigation.

For the time being, Thursday's (6/20/13) hearing is still scheduled over former student-athletes' motion for class certification in the NCAA student-athlete likeness antitrust litigation. This link has a great summary of the legal issues involved for both the student-athletes and NCAA. It does a good job of explaining the consequences of an NCAA loss, at the class certification stage and at trial. This is the most significant issue affecting college sports since NCAA control of television appearances was deregulated in 1984. The 1984 decision was the precursor to current conference realignment.

If the student-athletes get what they want, it could affect the ability of smaller Division I programs to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. If the student-athlete classes are certified, they will get at least part of what they want, because the NCAA would have to make concessions in any settlement. If the student-athletes get all of the relief they want (which would not happen unless the case goes to trial), it is possible that only 20-60 major college sports programs could survive to compete in Division I.

Now, this would be the NCAA's "worst case scenario," but it is a possibility. Simply, you cannot predict the future of college sports until this matter is resolved, in settlement or at trial. Here are other posts in which I have either directly or indirectly discussed this case:

- Publicity rights and NCAA student-athletes.
- How class certification works in connection with the NCAA student-athlete likeness antitrust litigation.
- More on NCAA student-athlete likeness antitrust litigation.
- Recent U.S. Supreme Court case has implications for NCAA student-athlete likeness antitrust litigation.
- The unlikelihood of class decertification.

Keep in mind that only the hearing is scheduled for Thursday. A decision likely will not come until 2-6 weeks later.

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