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.
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.
On June 29, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that allows collegiate student-athletes to hire agents and sign endorsement deals effective as of July 1, 2021. This bill puts Illinois among a number of states which have begun to pass legislation allowing student-athletes to receive payment for the use of their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”). While these laws open opportunities for student-athletes, they also present several potential challenges to the NCAA, the governing body for collegiate athletics in the United States, and its member institutions barring any Congressional assistance.
Athletic scholarships pave the way for student-athletes to attend the schools of their dreams, yet serious injuries can turn their dreams into nightmares, regardless of whether the injuries have immediate or future effects. In the relentless pursuit of illustrious professional league contracts and national championships, athletes may fail to get properly evaluated or be less inclined to accept being sidelined for what they perceive as minor, short-term injuries. The unwary athlete may find themselves losing their scholarship and suffering life-long consequences as a result. 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.
The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in the matter of National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston, et al. on March 31st, 2021. After decades of controversy regarding what restrictions the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) should be allowed to place on their member universities to compensate their collegiate athletes, many antitrust experts hope that the Supreme Court’s decision will give a final decision on if the NCAA’s current regulations are a violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act and if they are, are they still justified by the NCAA’s goals.
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.
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.
Fall of 2020, like most of 2020, is looking different for everyone. While some schools are resuming in-person classes, other schools have chosen to resume online classes; while some people are returning to offices, other businesses have announced that employees will continue to work from home until at least July of 2021. The uniformity of our daily lives is gone, and that it is exactly what is happening with the different college football conferences for Fall 2020. With the National Collegiate Athletic Association “NCAA” having no control over college football, it was up to the Power Five Conferences to independently decide what each conference’s season would look like this fall.
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.
Sarah Suddarth Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2021 The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to everyone’s lives, and student athletes are no exception. The unprecedented situation has presented many questions and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) has attempted to answer many of those questions coming directly from the displaced …