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NCAA loses ability to enforce NIL rules

The NCAA as we’ve known it is dead.

Specifically, the group that was created to enforce rules that are being systematically exposed as widespread antitrust violation has been gutted. And it will only get worse.

The latest confirmation that the body has no pulse comes from a federal court in Tennessee, which granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit attacking the NCAA’s rules regarding NIL payments. Specifically, the NCAA cannot punish athletes or boosters for negotiating name, image and likeness deals in the recruiting process, whether the athlete is picking his or her first school or whether he or she is in the transfer portal.

The ruling isn’t final, but preliminary injunctions — orders which force a defendant to do something or to stop doing something while a lawsuit is pending — don’t get entered unless the judge believes that there’s a strong likelihood that, when the final decision is made, the plaintiff will win.

It’s no surprise. The various colleges and universities are independent businesses. Under the federal antitrust laws, they can’t come together and agree to limitations on how people make money.

The violations have been hiding in plain sight for decades. The reckoning has arrived, and it keeps boomeranging around college sports, knocking down any efforts to limit individual revenue under the outdated and corrupt notion that there’s some inherent appeal to amateur athleticism.

The appeal is to those who would otherwise have to pay the athletes for their performances.

It’s going to keep happening until the NCAA cries uncle. At some point, there will be a massive verdict encompassing all of the antitrust violations that fall within the appropriate statute of limitations.

As we’ve said since the NIL floodgates first opened, the college sports system is getting the chaos that they deserve. The NCAA member universities managed to break the law and delay the full and final accounting, while exploiting young men and women for many, many years.

Weep not for the fat cats who essentially stole money by brainwashing everyone into thinking that tuition, fees, room, board, books, and snacks were more than good enough. It always should have been determined by the free and open market, with players striking the best deals they can with schools and boosters and anyone else who wants to pay them.

The time is coming for the NCAA and its member institutions to pay up. The time is overdue for the NCAA’s ability to tell athletes how they can and can’t earn money to perform a Triple Lindy into the dustbin of history.