NCAA vs Alston: What that means for name, image, and likeness
Today, March 31, 2021, the Supreme Court will finally hear the arguments in the antitrust case of NCAA vs. Alston. For those who are unaware, back in January, the NCAA voted to indefinitely delay providing guidance regarding how student-athletes could profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) citing concerns prompted by a letter from the Department of Justice related to the possible antitrust implications of changing its rules.
Knowing what we know, what can those in the collegiate sports and sports marketing communities expect in the short- and long-term following today’s arguments:
- A written decision will likely come by the end of June.
- This ruling likely won’t open the floodgates right away. The District Court’s decision, if the Supreme Court agrees with it, only requires the NCAA to allow schools to increase educational benefits commensurate with athletic benefits it allows.
- Should the Court reverse the District Court’s opinion, it’ll probably offer some guidance as to how the District Court should have looked at it, and the District Court will have to try again.
- In states where NIL legislation has already passed, it’s speculated that the NCAA is gearing up to battle those individual bills in court. It’s also speculated that the NCAA is hoping that Congress will intervene in June and provide blanket guidance for all DI programs.
The reality is, for current DI student-athletes or those in the recruitment process, it’s unlikely we’ll see significant division-wide change to NIL policies within the next six months to a year.
Regardless of the immediate outcomes, all DI programs should commit to providing student-athletes with access to equitable education and support services to help create, build, and manage their brands for life-long success.
Stop by my blog next week as I provide student-athletes with multiple ways they can tuneup their brand to prepare for whatever is to come.