William & Mary Business Law Review


Neil Gibson


By referencing the historical record to expose the NCAA’s one-year rule and per sport scholarship limits as cost-cutting, anticompetitive measures imposing harmful effects upon scholarship-seeking student athletes, this Note argues that despite the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s unfavorable ruling in Agnew v. NCAA, a Sherman Act claim against the NCAA linking bachelor’s degrees and scholarships could be legally viable. In particular, just application of the quick look rule of reason, an abbreviated form of antitrust analysis, could lead a court to find the NCAA’s one-year rule and per sport scholarship caps as violative of Section I of the Sherman Act. This follows from the origins of the targeted scholarship rules in a horizontal agreement among NCAA members informed by motives of crass commercialism, not the romantic NCAA values of amateurism and the educated athlete. A court mindful of this legacy, and possessing evidence of the anticompetitive results that these rules have brought about, could fairly find the one-year rule and per sport scholarship caps to be illegal restraints of trade meant to boost NCAA member revenues at the expense of their student-athlete consumers.