Thompson Coburn partner David Kaufman authored an op-ed in Crain’s Chicago Business on how the traditional model for amateur college athletes is shifting in light of recent developments including antitrust lawsuits. “For decades, the NCAA wielded its antitrust exemption like a shield, repelling challenges to its control over athlete compensation and competition,” he wrote. “But recent cracks in that shield, fueled by landmark lawsuits like O'Bannon v. NCAA and In re College NIL Litigation and Alston v. NCAA, have opened the floodgates for further legal battles.”
David also noted that the college athletics landscape is undergoing a shift through conference realignment. “The potential merger of the Big Ten and SEC into a single super conference would create a behemoth with unparalleled resources and media exposure, leaving other conferences scrambling for relevance.” Although where things are headed in college athletics remains uncertain, “the era of amateurism as we know it is completely over.” He continued, “The answer, it seems, lies not on the playing field, but in the regulatory bodies governing sports, in courtrooms and in the hearts and minds of those who truly care about the future of these American institutions.”
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