Outside Publication

Antitrust Issues Affecting Intercollegiate Athletics, NACUA Notes

October 21, 2015

Antitrust laws seek to promote competition and thereby provide consumers with lower prices and more  “output” of goods and services by prohibiting “unreasonable” restraints on competition.

Although these laws are designed primarily for the commercial marketplace (i.e., "trade”), they are regularly applied to a variety of activities related to intercollegiate athletics, including sales of media rights, limits on grants-in-aid available to student-athletes, and decisions affecting suppliers of goods (e.g., equipment) or services (e.g., coaching). This trend of applying antitrust scrutiny to college sports has intensified in recent years. For example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is currently involved in significant antitrust litigation involving the rights to student-athlete publicity and the allowable value of athletics grants-in-aid.