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NCAA Faces Legal Battle Over Name, Image, and Likeness Regulations

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been involved in legal battles regarding its name, image, and likeness (NIL) guidelines.

In the ongoing case Tennessee and Virginia v. NCAA, the states want to remove rules regulating players' compensation for their name, image, and likeness. The NCAA is the largest college sports governing body in the US. They earn billions from the revenue their player's NIL brings them. College athletes receive several benefits but are not being compensated for their NIL. The suit claims the NCAA has violated the antitrust laws by denying athletes the ability to earn total compensation. They seek an injunction to do away with the NCAA's NIL rules. Florida-based sports attorney Darren Heitner claims there has been misclassification of athletes and that they should be referred to as employees rather than student-athletes. This lawsuit brings the total number of antitrust lawsuits the NCAA is defending to at least five, three of which also seek employment status for college athletes.

In a statement, the NCAA claims that taking this legal action and suspending the NIL regulations would further encourage what they consider a "wild west atmosphere." The NCAA worries about uneven playing fields between neighboring states and student-athletes being vulnerable to exploitation without the proper safeguards. According to the statement, the association does want to protect NIL rules but is also open to expanding NIL rights and opportunities for its athletes.

Should the NCAA push back against the case, the parties involved would most likely go to trial, and it could take years to resolve this case. The association probably hopes to avoid another federal lawsuit, considering they already have a large caseload. "What the NCAA needs is an antitrust exemption that will allow it to govern sports without risk of it being sued into oblivion," said Ralph Russo of the Associated Press.

The legal battle surrounding NIL continues to intensify, with states such as Virginia and Tennessee challenging the association's regulations. With the NCAA already facing multiple lawsuits and the possibility of another trial, the path forward is still uncertain. Ultimately, resolving this issue involves finding a balance between protecting the rules already in place and providing fair compensation for student-athletes.

[Sources: CBS Sports; Wisconsin State Journal]

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