Journal of Law and Policy


John Kealey


After a century of denying student-athletes from receiving compensation outside the cost of attendance for their athletic contributions to their respective universities, the NCAA finally announced it would change its amateurism rule. The change came in response to multiple class action lawsuits and, more recently, legislation from many states, namely California and New York, which would have mandated that universities do not interfere with student-athletes desire to commercially exploit their own names, image, and likenesses. However, these statutes are potentially flawed in that each could exacerbate or perpetuate the anti-trust and first amendment issues inherent to the current amateurism rule. Further, the NCAA’s proposed change to its amateurism rule includes language limiting the student-athlete’s right to self-monetization in a way that is more restrictive than the proposed legislation. To shift away from the amateurism model, scholars have suggested that the NCAA use the Olympic model as a guide. These suggestions were salient in the aftermath of the O’Bannon and Keller decisions and continue to be in light of the current proposed legislation. This note examines new efforts being made to regulate amateurism in sports and finds them wanting. It then turns to a discussion calling for the NCAA to adopt the Olympic model of amateurism to ensure student athletes finally get a piece of the NCAA’s century long windfall.