"...the NCAA has exposed its primary premise for seeking preemption and an antitrust exemption as baseless. Differences in state laws do not make college sports governance impossible. It should not take a pandemic to make this clear, but here we are."
Dear state and federal lawmakers,
I'd like to bring the NCAA's recent decision on return to play of college sports as further evidence that, despite claims by the NCAA, commissioners, and some colleges, there is not a need for college athlete NIL legislation to be uniform or for the NCAA to have an antitrust exemption.
The NCAA recently announced that some athletic programs and conferences can return to competitions while others do not. The primary reason for this situation is that some state and local officials have outlined different re-opening conditions and phases that will either green light or delay the resumption of sports. In other words, there are differences in state laws that will dramatically prevent a "level playing field", and the NCAA is governing in a manner that abides by these laws.
The NCAA claims that the ability to govern college sports is impossible if differences in state NIL legislation is allowed to take place. However, it voiced no reservations about state laws dictating different re-opening opportunities for college sports or against allowing its members to operate within the confinces of those laws. In fact, it voiced its support:
NCAA President Mark Emmert stated, "These are localized decisions... The NCAA shouldn't mandate that, nor should it."
The NCAA uses the notion of maintaining competitive equity (which does not exist under the current model) to attempt to justify its unreasonable request for an antitrust exemption and a uniform federal law, but it is turning a blind eye to the stark competitive inequities that will arise between a college that re-opens and one that does not.
Athletic programs that reopen will have an unprecedented advantage over those that don't. In addition to capturing all available TV revenue, many talented recruits and transfers are likely to flock to functioning programs over programs that can't operate.
To be clear, the NCPA is not opposed to some athletic programs opening before others. The NCPA wants both a quick and safe return to college sports. The point is that the NCAA has exposed its primary premise for seeking preemption and an antitrust exemption as baseless. Differences in state laws do not make college sports governance impossible. It should not take a pandemic to make this clear, but here we are.
State lawmakers, the NCPA urges you to continue your important work of ensuring economic freedoms for your college athletes.
Federal lawmakers, the NCPA urges you to oppose an NCAA antitrust exemption and to oppose the NCAA's request to eliminate college athlete freedoms being pursued by dozens of states nationwide.
Ramogi Huma, Executive Director