University of Miami Business Law Review


Brandon Posivak

Document Type



The NCAA is not above the law. On June 21, 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously held in NCAA v. Alston that the NCAA’s student-athlete compensation restrictions violated § 1 of the Sherman Act, and student athletes may now obtain education-related benefits from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). The Court’s holding marked the first time the NCAA’s compensation restrictions failed antitrust scrutiny under the Rule of Reason analysis, but by limiting its holding to education-related benefits, the Court refused to open the floodgates to all forms of NIL compensation. Within its holding, the Court notably rejected the NCAA’s procompetitive argument of preserving amateur athletics, which had largely withstood judicial pressure for nearly half a century.

While the Court found the NCAA’s compensation restrictions amounted to horizontal restraints on the student-athlete cognizable labor market as the NCAA engaged in blatant price fixing, it is the NCAA’s enforcement of the restrictions rather than the restrictions themselves that manifests the Sherman Act violation. This Note argues that the NCAA should cede its control over to the conferences comprised of its member institutions, which would remedy the Sherman Act violation as the conferences are in competition with each other, thus making the compensation restrictions a reasonable restraint on trade. Significantly, Justice Kavanaugh’s fiery concurrence in Alston implored the Court to expand its holding to other areas of NIL compensation restrictions outside education, which foreshadows that the Court’s decision in Alston may be essentially mark the end of the NCAA’s iron grip on student athletes.