A Comment on the NCAA Student-Athlete Compensation Cases

By Aaron M. Panner – 

Antitrust doctrine provides that any justification for a restraint of trade must be couched in terms of its benefits for competition: arguments that unrestrained competition undermines other social goals are treated as off-limits for purposes of the Sherman Act. This commentary considers how that focus affected the terms of debate in the district court’s opinion in In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Grant-in-Aid Cap Antitrust Litig., 375 F. Supp. 3d 1058 (N.D. Cal. 2019) and suggests that some of the strongest intuitive justifications for the NCAA’s amateurism rules remained out of the picture.