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The Supreme Court and the NCAA

The Case for Less Commercialism and More Due Process in College Sports

Brian Porto

Publication Year: 2012

Two Supreme Court decisions, NCAA v. Board of Regents (1984) and NCAA v. Tarkanian (1988), have shaped college sports by permitting the emergence of a supercharged commercial enterprise with high financial stakes for institutions and individuals, while failing to guarantee adequate procedural protections for persons charged with wrongdoing within that enterprise. Brian L. Porto examines the conditions that led to the cases, the reasoning behind the justices' rulings, and the consequences of those rulings. Arguing that commercialized college sports should be compatible with the goals of higher education and fair to all participants, Porto suggests that the remedy is a federal statute. His proposed College Sports Legal Reform Act would grant the NCAA a limited "educational exemption" from the antitrust laws, enabling it to enhance academic opportunities for athletes. The Act would also afford greater procedural protections to accused parties in NCAA disciplinary proceedings. Porto's prescription for reform in college sports makes a significant contribution to the debate about how best to address perennial problems in college sports such as cost containment, access to a meaningful education for athletes, and fairness in rule enforcement.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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p. ix

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pp. xi-xiii

The marriage of athletic commerce to higher education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has had mixed results for American colleges and universities. On the one hand, both individuals and institutions have achieved fame and fortune from big-time college sports. On the other hand, financial excess, academic fraud, and unsportsmanlike conduct by ...

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Chapter 1: Antitrust and Distrust of the NCAA: The Current Legal Structure in College Sports

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pp. 1-24

The commercial boom that has occurred in college sports during the past generation is no secret, even to the casual fan. A vivid illustration of this phenomenon is the increase in the number of college football games available to television viewers on autumn Saturdays. For example, during the 1970s and the early 1980s, the maximum number of games televised in the ...

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Chapter 2: A Revolt of the “Haves”: The Road to NCAA v. Board of Regents

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pp. 25-48

The NCAA was founded in 1906 in response to the violence that plagued college football during the 1905 season, after which the Chicago Tribune reported that 18 college and high school students had died and 159 had been injured while playing football that season.1 The cause of many injuries was the “mass play,”which saw offensive players link arms to protect the ball ...

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Chapter 3: Free-Market Football: The Supreme Court Decides NCAA v. Board of Regents

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pp. 49-72

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in NCAA v. Board of Regents on March 20, 1984, and announced its decision in the case on June 27, 1984. Justice John Paul Stevens, whom President Gerald Ford appointed to the Court in 1975, wrote the majority opinion for himself and six colleagues. The opinion began by describing the basic features of the 1981 ...

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Chapter 4: Thursday Night Games and Millionaire Coaches: The Implications of NCAA v. Board of Regents

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pp. 73-99

Reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision was swift and dramatic. The NCAA and its Division I-A members met in Chicago shortly after the decision was announced, and in the words of a contemporary news report, “they frantically sought to avoid chaos and the dread consequences of T.V. over-saturation.” 1 According to this report, “There seemed to be strong ...

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Chapter 5: Hunting the Shark: The Road to NCAA v. Tarkanian

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pp. 100-126

Two forces—television and enforcement—transformed the NCAA into the wealthy, powerful regulatory body that it is today. But both forces are the subjects of continuing controversy. Although commercialization, facilitated by television, has made the NCAA wealthy, it is also largely responsible for the academic fraud and the financial excesses that have plagued college ...

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Chapter 6: Taming the Shark: The Supreme Court Decides NCAA v. Tarkanian

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pp. 127-150

When the Supreme Court accepted the Tarkanian case, it agreed to determine only whether the NCAA was a “state actor” within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court’s decision would not determine whether the NCAA’s allegations against Coach Tarkanian were true or whether the punishment levied against him was ...

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Chapter 7: What Process Is Due? The Implications of NCAA v. Tarkanian

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pp. 151-177

Jerry Tarkanian lost his war with the NCAA in the United States Supreme Court, but he won the battle to keep his job at UNLV. After the High Court ruled, the case returned to a state trial court in Nevada, which vacated its previous ruling enjoining the NCAA from forcing UNLV to suspend Tarkanian. Still, the Nevada trial court left its injunction against UNLV ...

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Chapter 8: Trust Replaces Antitrust: A New Legal Structure for College Sports

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pp. 178-196

Only the United States Congress can undo the adverse effects of NCAA v. Board of Regents and NCAA v. Tarkanian. The NCAA cannot declare itself exempt from the antitrust laws, and it has refused thus far to adopt the procedural protections for accused parties recommended in chapter 7. Therefore, Congress should confer on the NCAA a limited antitrust exemption in ...


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pp. 197-236


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pp. 237-244


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pp. 245-249

E-ISBN-13: 9780472028092
E-ISBN-10: 047202809X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472118045
Print-ISBN-10: 0472118048

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 774956270
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Supreme Court and the NCAA

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Subject Headings

  • Antitrust law -- United States.
  • College sports -- Law and legislation -- United States.
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association.
  • College sports -- Economic aspects -- United States.
  • United States. Supreme Court.
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