Karin Michel

How the NCAA is Addressing Athlete Safety in the Age of Sports Gambling

As March Madness takes center stage, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is placing its focus on sports betting and how to best protect those involved. On March 19, the NCAA announced its Draw the Line Campaign, which prioritizes student-athlete education on the effects of sports betting and addresses the issues associated with problem gambling. The NCAA has actively sought to address sports betting since losing the 2018 Supreme Court case Murphy v. NCAA, where the Court found that federal laws could not restrict a state from authorizing sports betting due to state sovereignty. This ruling led to 38 states and the District of Columbia legalizing some form of sports gambling, 29 of which allow online betting. The Draw the Line campaign comes after an announcement last fall that the NCAA would begin advocating for updated sports betting laws in state legislatures to protect student-athletes and the integrity of NCAA competition.

How the Latest NIL Rulings Impact the NCAA

The Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) landscape in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been constantly changing since its enactment in June of 2021. Over the last month, the NCAA has faced legal defeats involving the rights of student-athletes under the policies it has established. A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Regional Director determined that members of the Dartmouth College men’s basketball team were employees, thereby granting them the right to unionize. Also, most recently, a Tennessee court issued a preliminary injunction barring the NCAA from enforcing its NIL rules against compensation for recruits. This injunction was issued as a part of a federal lawsuit alleging that the rules violate antitrust laws. Each of these rulings carries distinct implications for the NCAA’s future and the organization’s ongoing efforts to lobby Congress for federal regulation.

Regulating AI Used to Predict and Prevent Sports Injuries: A Crucial Need

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in sports could revolutionize the way athletic injuries are predicted and managed. Notably, a variety of AI companies have developed software that forecasts potential injuries, possibly prolonging athletes’ careers. This technology analyzes data about the biomechanics of players, their frequency of play or training, and past injuries to identify patterns, find potential causes, and predict future injuries. There is immense value in preventing injuries in athletics for players, teams, and fans alike. It would therefore make sense that everyone is eager to utilize the findings of AI, but without regulation this could cause more harm than good.

How Removing Cannabinoids from the NCAA Banned Substances List Benefits the Organization and the Players

As marijuana use has been legalized in some capacity in a majority of states, there remains a notable population who is still banned from its use: student athletes. However, recent recommendations to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) means that change could be on the horizon for collegiate athletes. Earlier this summer, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) signaled its support for removing cannabis from the banned substance list and drug-testing protocols for student athletes. On September 22, 2023 the committee officially recommended that all three NCAA divisional bodies adopt legislation to remove cannabinoids from the banned drug classes. The recommendation was based upon the conclusion at the Summit on Cannabinoids in College Athletics hosted by the NCAA last December. They concluded that cannabinoids are not considered to be performance-enhancing, and the current policy was found to be ineffective at prohibiting use, and better implemented by individual schools.

Protecting the Sport or Protecting the Person: Why NIL Deals for College Athletes Need Federal Regulation

Mayhem has ensued in the world of college sports since July 1, 2021, when college athletes could first benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) based on an interim policy passed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Chaos emerged after a number of states adopted policies regarding athlete’s name, image, and likeness. This forced the NCAA to pass a policy allowing such deals across the board, while stating in their release that the organization would continue to work with Congress to create a solution on the national level. However, two years later, no such solution has come to fruition, and in that time, states that have a large investment in the success of their college sports have been able to create or edit their legislation to benefit the performance of their teams.