State of Tennessee sues NCAA over legality of NIL guidelines amid investigation into Volunteers


Attorney generals from Tennessee and Virginia on Tuesday filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA challenging the legality of the association’s name, image and likeness guidelines. The suit comes one day after CBS Sports reported that the University of Tennessee is dealing with an ongoing NCAA investigation into potential NIL violations involving marketing firm Spyre Sports Group.
In Tennessee and Virginia v. NCAA, the states are seeking to do away with NIL guidelines adopted by the NCAA in July 2021. Those guidelines have been modified since their initial introduction.
The suit alleges that the NCAA has violated antitrust laws by denying athletes their ability to earn full compensation for their names, images and likenesses. The plaintiffs — including the attorneys general of Tennessee and Virginia — may, in a matter of days, seek a temporary injunction that could suspend the NCAA’s NIL rules and limitations.
Should the NCAA push back, the parties would likely go to trial; it could ultimately take years to litigate the case. However, the association certainly hopes to avoid another federal lawsuit challenging its ability to govern given the case load it is already managing.
College athletics has been in a state of confusion since those guidelines were put forth over two years ago following the Alston v. NCAA decision from the Supreme Court. Guidelines aren’t rules, and rules don’t apply unless they are enforced; unless enforcement changes behavior, confusion reigns.
That’s where we the NCAA stands as it tries to rein in NIL excesses.
Florida State was recently penalized by the NCAA in an NIL case. Florida is currently under investigation for its recruitment of quarterback Jaden Rashada, now at Arizona State.
Considering what’s at stake, this latest lawsuit could result in a possible


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