US: NCAA fears athlete bidding wars

The NCAA, currently on trial for antitrust allegations regarding compensation for college athletes, has testified to defend its business model and argued that using broadcast revenue to pay athletes could spark bidding wars between recruiters for some players.

According to reports, the Southeastern Conference’s Greg Sankey, associate commissioner, testified Tuesday that college recruiters or “overzealous fans” could lead to financial payments or other incentives to athletes in order to influence their college pick.

”What we would have done is introduce the compensation discussion right into recruiting. The education piece of that discussion in recruiting would be minimized,” Sankey said. “A bidding war ensues quite quickly. That’s not the focus of what we do now.”

Collegiate athlete plaintiffs are accusing the NCAA of violating antitrust law by capping how much athletes are compensated for their performance. The athletes are seeking payment for the NCAA’s use of the players’ name, likeness and image on various business ventures.

But the NCAA argues that changing its business model and allowing athletes to profit from those ventures would distract athletes from their education.

According to the plaintiffs, the Southeastern Conference made $314 million last year, twice as much as it made the year prior.

Full content: Courthouse News Service

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