States sue NCAA, saying organization unfairly restricts players' sponsorship opportunities

Tennessee, Florida, New York, the District of Columbia and Virginia filed the lawsuit.
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Posted at 1:34 PM, May 01, 2024

Several state attorneys general announcedWednesday they are suing the NCAA for "unlawfully restraining competition for name, image and likeness opportunities."

In 2021, the NCAA was forced to change its rules amid court challenges and state laws to allow players to profit from their name, image and likeness. This meant that collegiate athletes could participate in sponsorship opportunities for the first time, such as endorsements or making paid appearances.

The rule change resulted in players often basing their decisions on where to play on monetization rather than on playing opportunities or facilities. NIL deals for basketball and football players have reportedly reached into the millions.

However, the NCAA does place some limits on how players can monetize their names. One way is to bar potential players from inquiring about NIL opportunities before stepping on campus.

“It appears no one could ever comply with these ever-changing and unfair regulations that limit the ability of student athletes to negotiate in good faith. I am taking legal action to reverse the unlawful restrictions the NCAA has placed on Florida universities and our collegiate athletes," Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said.

The antitrust lawsuit by Tennessee, Florida, New York, the District of Columbia and Virginia seeks to allow players to inquire about NIL opportunities during the signing and transfer process.

"This Court should declare unlawful and enjoin the NCAA’s NIL-recruiting ban to allow this market — which already exists — to function fairly and competitively," the attorneys general say in their filing. "Without relief, the NCAA will deprive Plaintiff States’ athletes and prospective athletes of information about the market value for their NIL rights, thereby preventing them from obtaining full, fair-market value for those rights "

Scripps News has contacted the NCAA to get its reaction.