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Michael A. McCann, Jump Ball: The Unsettled Law of Representing College Basketball Stars and Monetizing Their Names, Images, and Likeness, 61 Santa Clara L. Rev. 177 (2021).

Abstract: The legal framework governing college athletes is in a transformative era. Under pressure by state governments and members of Congress, the NCAA is contemplating structural changes that would permit college athletes to license their names, images and likenesses. Should these changes come to pass, college athletes—most likely through the negotiation vehicle of trade associations—would be compensated for the use of their identities in apparel, merchandise, video games, television broadcasts and related goods and services. The changes would upend decades of NCAA adherence to “amateurism,” a controversial system of rules that denies compensation opportunities on the logic that pay would corrupt college athletes, betray educational goals and undermine the consumer appeal of collegiate athletic contests. This Article examines the mechanisms by which college athletes should be able to secure representation for their commercial interests. Within that area of study, this Article focuses on men’s college basketball players who declare for the annual National Basketball Association (“NBA”) Draft while preserving the option to return to school. The NCAA has proposed requirements for agents to represent these players. Such requirements are of questionable merit and raise concerns about the demographics of persons they might tend to exclude as agents. This Article contends that while the NCAA may have the legal capacity to exclude agents, it should weigh potential adverse consequences on competition and socioeconomic status. This argument has concrete implications on college basketball and more broadly on the economics of college sports.