Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
More on Justice Department's Inquiry into One-Year Renewable Athletic Scholarships

A couple of days ago, we blogged about the report by Libby Sander of Chronicle of Higher Ed on the Justice Department investigating the NCAA's rule on one-year renewable scholarships for student-athletes. Providing additional commentary and perspective, David Moltz and Doug Lederman of Insider Higher Ed have a story titled "Are Athletic Scholarships Fair?". They interviewed several persons including me for their story. Here are some excerpts:

* * *

Legal experts have relatively little to go on in interpreting what the Justice Department may be after. But to the extent they are looking at the NCAA's scholarship policies through an antitrust prism, the sorts of questions they are likely to be asking are the following: Do colleges, acting as a group, impede competition by forcing one another to offer athletic scholarships in this manner? To put it another (potentially more controversial) way, are colleges essentially fixing the price of what they give athletes for their services?

"Maybe if there was no NCAA rule for one-year scholarships, some colleges would offer four-year scholarships instead,” said Michael McCann, a professor at Vermont Law School and legal analyst for Sports Illustrated. “If a college is competing for a player, then that could be an appealing thing. From an athletic director’s point of view, a college might not have the budget to do this. But, if it were a free market, then who knows what they would do.”

* * *

“Some of the government interest in college athletes has been in issues around the periphery,” said Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association. “There’s a laundry list of things that could show how the NCAA breaks antitrust laws, but this one-year scholarship rule is at the core of how players are taken advantage of. I’m pleased to see this issue be taken up by the Department of Justice.”

Most prospective athletes, Huma argues, are unaware that the athletically related scholarships being offered to them are only for one year and that renewal can be denied for any number of reasons, even if they remain in good academic standing.

* * *

“Most faculty also have the mis-impression that these athletic scholarships are for four years,” said Ken Struckmeyer, co-chair of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics and a professor of horticulture and landscape architecture at Washington State University. “We all assume it would allow them to finish their academic degree, but that’s not always the case.”
* * *

To read the rest, click here.


I am glad you followed up with this because I still don't know why the DOJ is REALLY pursuing this. It's all apparently just speculation. Please keep us posted. One thing I totally disagree with is the notion that student-athletes who sign the NLI do NOT know that the scholarship is a one-year thing. That is a bunch of hogwash--they know it and it is disclosed on the NLI itself.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 5/12/2010 8:48 AM  

It is interesting to note that merit scholarships do vary -- some are one-year, some are one-year but renewable for up to 4, some are 4-year from the start.

Blogger Lior -- 5/20/2010 12:15 PM  

Post a Comment