The recent resolution of the Andrew Oliver case may mark the death throes of the NCAA's no-agent rule, prohibiting college athletes from retaining agents in professional contract negotiations, and perhaps the traditional paradigm of amateurism in sport. In light of the trial court's ruling, as well as continuing calls for the revocation of the NCAA's tax-exempt status, the time is ripe for a reexamination of amateurism and the law. This Note argues that the NCAA has developed a complicated web of largely unenforceable rules and regulations that are unnecessary to maintain tax-exempt status in light of the regulatory environment. This Note examines the antitrust, labor, and tax consequences of changing definitions of amateurism. Focusing on the Internal Revenue Service interpretations of amateurism, this Note concludes that a less restrictive amateurism regime would still achieve many of the legal benefits sought by the NCAA. This analysis has broader implications for tax policy and the culture of sport. Calling for a shift to a "new amateurism," this Note contributes a novel redefinition of amateurism that reflects the current environment of intercollegiate sport. Modern amateurism should recognize the profit motive of the student-athlete. Under a less restrictive NCAA rule-making regime, the remaining rules are enforceable and fair. In substituting protections for student-athletes in place of the current paternalism, the NCAA will reduce the likelihood that future rules will be overturned by court challenges.
Virginia A. Fitt,
The NCAA’s Lost Cause and the Legal Ease of Redefining Amateurism,
59 Duke Law Journal
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol59/iss3/4