NCAA barred from enforcing NIL rules after lawsuit with states of Tennessee, Virginia


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The NCAA is barred from enforcing its rules prohibiting name, image and likeness compensation from being used to recruit athletes in Tennessee and Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Clifton Corker in the Eastern District of Tennessee made the ruling on Friday, saying the NCAA’s stance likely violates antitrust law with Congress so far unwilling to give the association an exemption.

The attorneys general for the states filed an antitrust lawsuit several weeks ago.

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The NCAA championship

Trophy and banner displayed during the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship at Kenyon Arena on March 19, 2022, in Middlebury, Vermont. (Nancie Battaglia/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

“While the NCAA permits student-athletes to profit from their NIL, it fails to show how the timing of when a student-athlete enters such an agreement would destroy the goal of preserving amateurism,” the judge wrote.

“This is the beginning of whatever the new order of college sports is, but there had to be a fresh start,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti told OutKick’s “Hot Mic.” “What we had wasn’t working, and this is what it took to start the ball rolling in the next direction. . . . Whatever happens, we are going to continue fighting to make sure that student-athletes have fair and clear rules that are gonna let them enjoy the benefits of the sports that bring so much joy to everybody.”

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The NCAA logo outside the NCAA Headquarters on February 28, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

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“It’s only fair that they have more freedom over what they earn,” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares added. “The NCAA has taken advantage of talented young athletes for too long.”

The NCAA said the decision will “aggravate an already chaotic collegiate environment, further diminishing protection for student-athletes from exploitation.”

The NCAA fully supports student-athletes making money from their name, image and likeness and is making changes to deliver more benefits to student-athletes, but an endless patchwork of state laws and court opinions make clear partnering with Congress is necessary to provide stability for the future of all college athletes.

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Ryan Kalkbrenner, #11 of the Creighton Bluejays, wins the opening tip over Flo Thamba, #0 of the Baylor Bears, during the second round of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament held at Ball Arena on March 19, 2023, in Denver, Colorado.  (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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The Tennessee case is one of at least six antitrust lawsuits the NCAA is defending as it also asks for antitrust protections from Congress.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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