Judge Nap: New Antitrust Suit Against NCAA Is 'Best Argument I've Seen'
The 2014 NCAA Tournament will tip off tonight just as a another lawsuit has been filed, with four college athletes claiming that the NCAA is violating antitrust laws. Attorney Jeffrey Kessler filed the suit on behalf of four football and basketball players, whom the suit says are representing all current and former college athletes.
"The main objective is to strike down permanently the restrictions that prevent athletes in Division I basketball and the top tier of college football from being fairly compensated for the billions of dollars in revenues that they help generate," Kessler told ESPN. "In no other business -- and college sports is big business -- would it ever be suggested that the people who are providing the essential services work for free. Only in big-time college sports is that line drawn."
The NCAA, along with five of the largest conferences, are named in the lawsuit, which likens the NCAA to a cartel. The NCAA has long argued that student-athletes are fairly compensated in the form of lucrative scholarships.
Judge Andrew Napolitano assessed the case this afternoon, telling Bill Hemmer that if the suit is successful, "no college sport will ever be the same." Three other similar lawsuits are facing the NCAA, but Judge Napolitano called this one "the strongest and best written legal argument of the four."
Napolitano explained that whichever judge gets these cases may feel that it is not the proper role of the courts to decide such a momentous issue. He pointed out that Major League Baseball receives an exemption from antitrust laws from Congress, and suggested lawmakers take up the issue with regard to college sports.
"I would support Congress exempting college sports from the antitrust laws. The antitrust laws prohibit businesses from doing what the colleges are doing. That's why I said on its face, the colleges are violating the antitrust laws," he said.
Watch the discussion above, and check back on the Insider daily for all of Judge Nap's analysis.