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Friday, August 15, 2014
O'Bannon, College Reform & Title IX

As the dust begins to settle on Judge Claudia Wilken's ruling in the O'Bannon case, many are beginning the process of interpreting the ruling from a variety of perspectives. One of the chief questions relative to paying college athletes, and the brave new world in which the NCAA has been brought, is the role that Title IX will have on its implementation.

One of Sports Law Blog's favorite antitrust economists, Andy Schwarz a partner with OSKR LLC in California, recently penned an insightful article on Deadspin titled "Don't Let Anyone Tell You The O'Bannon Ruling Conflicts with Title IX." Schwarz argues that the payments being proposed by Wilken should be construed as "part-and-parcel of the financial aid offer made to male athletes." As such, they'd fall under the umbrella of the "substantial proportionality" test as required by Title IX. The article is masterful and should be read by all to fully understand this issue.

Our own Michael McCann analyzed the O'Bannon decision for Sports Illustrated and tackled the issue of Title IX, noting that Title IX plaintiff attorneys may have a different perspective than the one Schwarz argues.  Another wonderful piece was recently posted on espnW by columnist Jane McManus titled "NCAA Reforms: Good for Female Athletes?" McManus, who also quotes Schwarz, asks the poignant question "so what is the future of women's sports under this new structure?" Finally, Kristi Dosh wrote a piece which poses more questions than answers, in a column titled "Are O'Bannon Ruling and Title IX at Odds?"

What's clear is that there will be many a law review article penned debating this topic. Title IX recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary and its impact continues to play a major role in higher education.


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