States Expand Coalition in NCAA Lawsuit Over NIL Rules

Five states and DC challenge NCAA's restrictions on student-athletes.

On Wednesday, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced an expansion in the coalition challenging the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over its recruitment practices. Now joining Tennessee and Virginia in this legal battle are Florida, New York, and the District of Columbia. This multistate lawsuit accuses the NCAA of violating federal antitrust laws through its restrictions on the ability of student-athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

The lawsuit, originally filed in January by Tennessee and Virginia, argues that the NCAA’s enforcement of NIL restrictions during the recruitment process unfairly limits how student-athletes can commercially use their NIL, in violation of the Sherman Act. These restrictions, the states argue, not only harm the student-athletes but also affect the welfare of the states themselves.

In February, the Eastern District Court of Tennessee granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the plaintiffs. This initial victory supports the states’ stance against the NCAA’s NIL recruitment ban, setting the stage for further legal proceedings.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti expressed satisfaction with the growing bipartisan support for the case, emphasizing the coalition’s goal to establish fair and clear rules for student-athletes outside the courtroom. However, until such goals are achieved, the states are committed to continuing their legal fight against what they view as the NCAA’s anticompetitive practices.

The lawsuit now includes a broader group of plaintiffs seeking to ensure that the NCAA’s restrictions do not continue to disadvantage student-athletes in Tennessee and beyond. The amended complaint, which outlines the expanded coalition’s arguments against the NCAA, is available for public viewing here.

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