Scholarships pave the way for student-athletes to attend the school of their dreams, yet their dreams can quickly turn into nightmares if they experience a serious career ending injury. The 660 National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) institutions collectively award athletic scholarships to over 180,000 students totaling in excess of $3.6 billion annually. In the relentless pursuit of illustrious professional league contracts and national championships, athletes are less inclined to accept being sidelined for what they perceive as minor injuries or even invisible injuries. The unwary athlete may find themselves losing their scholarship and suffering life-long consequences. While the NCAA was established in 1906 for the purpose of protecting athletes from a trend of injuries and death in college football, the governing body has seemingly veered off course of prioritizing student-athlete welfare.
To ensure safety and the best experience for athletes to excel in sports, eligibility to play on certain teams and at varying levels of competition has long depended on individuals’ biological factors, the primary factor being sex. This established practice of separating sport participation by two categories, male and female based upon the sex assigned at birth is being reexamined, particularly as it relates to individuals who were born male, now identify as female, and desire to compete in women’s sport. The federal government, state governments, and sport governing bodies are addressing the matters presented by athletes who transition genders, with opposition by both sides of the issues seemingly being the only commonality.
Advanced data driven infrastructure is now essential for sports entities to remain competitive, yet few structures are in place to manage the risks inherent in the collection of this sometimes, highly personal information. Data is utilized for virtually every aspect involved in the game, including; to enhance player performance, improve player health, deepen fan engagement, and increase betting predictions. These developments do not come about without risks to the rights of those who the data is extracted from.
Congress has enhanced government oversight of amateur sports in response to numerous allegations in recent years targeting amateur sports governing bodies’ failures to address physical and mental misconduct. New legislation is expected to make significant reforms by requiring training, reporting, and a new system to manage allegations of of sexual abuse, among other changes.
As Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease, sports leagues are tasked with implementing safety measures in an urgent and effective manner. Despite the rush for normalcy amid trying times, mitigating further spread and risks associated with the ongoing pandemic are at the forefront of these efforts. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is among the first organizations attempting to resume operations while facing significant health and safety considerations.
With changes to the regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) student-athlete model looming overhead, the role of athlete representation is significant in the conversation relating to name, image, and likeness (NIL) of the student athlete. The NCAA has a long-standing “no-agent” rule that forbids student-athletes from being represented by an agent or organization in the marketing of his or her athletic ability until after the completion of their last intercollegiate contest. The NCAA determines a student-athlete’s eligibility based partly on their amateurism status, a term which is not expressly defined by the NCAA, although guided by several factors. Among those factors that would remove an athlete’s eligibility from NCAA competition, is a binding agreement to be represented by an agent at any time before or during a student-athletes collegiate career, however, there are a few exceptions to this factor.The underlying purpose of the “no-agent” rule is to protect student athletes from exploitation in the open market. To further regulate potential issues, the NCAA adopted the Uniform Athlete Agents Act, which effectively criminalizes contact between agents and athletes before the athletes completion of their last intercollegiate contest.