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NCAA Expected to Delay NIL Vote Amid D.C. Changeover

Brock Fritz

The NCAA is reportedly holding off on deciding whether or not to loosen player restrictions.

According to CBS Sports, the NCAA Division I Council’s vote on name, image and likeness legislation is expected to be tabled indefinitely due to upcoming changes in the United States Senate, Supreme Court and White House.

The NCAA has been working toward this week’s convention since spring 2019, when the organization formed a working group to discuss whether student-athletes should be allowed to profit from use of their names, images and likenesses.

Related content: NCAA Pushing Forward with Name, Image, Likeness Discussions

In April 2020, the NCAA announced that the Board of Governors supports rule changes that would allow student-athletes to “receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics. It also supports compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October.”

Related content: NCAA Board of Governors Supports NIL Rule Changes

Last Friday, USA TODAY Sports reported that United States Department of Justice assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim expressed concerns about the NCAA’s direction and antitrust laws in a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert.

“Ultimately, the antitrust laws demand that college athletes, like everyone else in our free market economy, benefit appropriately from competition,” wrote Delrahim, whose position in the Justice Department is set to end when the Donald Trump administration ends this month.

Delrahim’s letter noted that the Joe Biden administration may express similar reviews.

“Pursuing a goal of promoting amateurism does not insulate the NCAA’s rules from scrutiny under the antitrust laws,” he wrote. “The antitrust laws limit the NCAA’s ability to restrict competition among college athletes, coaches, and schools.  For example, if the NCAA adopted a rule that fixes the price at which students can license their NIL, e.g., based on what the NCAA determines to be a ‘fair’ market value, such a rule may raise concerns under the antitrust laws.”

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that Emmert responded to the Justice Department with a letter saying that he “strongly recommended” that votes on NIL rights and one-time transfer exemptions be delayed.

"We believe, as courts have regularly held, that our current amateurism and other rules are indeed fully compliant [with federal antitrust law]," Emmert wrote. "Whenever we consider revisions to the rules, however, we of course receive input from many interested parties, and we welcome your invitation to consult with the department so that we can hear and fully understand its views as well.”

Delrahim also addressed proposed changes to the NCAA’s transfer rules. The Division I Council is looking into allow transfers in football, basketball, baseball and men’s hockey to begin competing immediately after historically having to sit out a year after transferring.

“Our expectation is that our engagement with the NCAA over its transfer rules will … result in the NCAA’s removal of unnecessary anticompetitive barriers that stand in the way of college athletes transferring between schools,” he wrote. “Of course, the Division stands ready to enforce the antitrust laws if necessary.”

Related content: Critics Argue NCAA’s Latest NIL Proposals Fall Short

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