NCAA can no longer enforce NIL rules after federal judge grants injunction

The NCAA has lost the authority to enforce any rules on name, image and likeness compensation for student-athletes, for now and potentially for good.


American collegiate athletics are overseen and regulated by the non-profit National Collegiate Athletic Association, more often known as the NCAA. Over 460,000 student-athletes are represented by the approximately 1,100 member schools and conferences that the NCAA governs. The organization was founded in 1906.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) principal objective is to safeguard collegiate athletes’ health and safety while simultaneously maintaining the highest standards of academic honesty and fair play. For its three divisions—Division I, Division II, and Division III—it sets and enforces norms and policies pertaining to recruitment, eligibility, scholarships, and competition.

Schools in Division I often compete in highly publicized athletic programs and give the most prestigious athletic scholarships. Division I colleges have an emphasis on academics and athletics simultaneously, with no athletic scholarships given out, while Division II schools provide a somewhat lesser level of competition and scholarship chances.

Basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and a plethora of other sports have their championships and tournaments run by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The nation’s sports enthusiasts and media outlets often pay close attention to these events.

Academic success and the general welfare of student-athletes are likewise highly valued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which is responsible for regulating sports competition. Its mission is to help collegiate players achieve their academic potential so that they can continue their education after their sporting careers have ended.

All things considered, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is pivotal in molding American collegiate athletics and creating opportunities for student-athletes throughout the country.

Federal judge Clifton Corker granted a preliminary injunction suspending the NCAA’s NIL rules as part of the lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Tennessee and Virginia against the organization, according to Adam Sparks of the Knoxville News Sentinel. The decision will apply nationwide.

Corker found that the current NIL rules caused irreparable damages to student-athletes and the NCAA’s ban on using NIL money as recruiting inducements “likely violates federal antitrust law.” From the News Sentinel:

“(W)ithout the give and take of a free market, student-athletes simply have no knowledge of their true NIL value,” Corker wrote. “It is this suppression of negotiating leverage and the consequential lack of knowledge that harms student-athletes.”

The decision is a disaster for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which has been trying to grasp any authority it can in the landscape created by the 2021 Supreme Court ruling opening the door for NIL compensation.

College athletes are now free to directly negotiate their compensation and sign NIL contracts before enrolling at a school and will be able to do so until at least the end of the court case. The injunction alone is a bad omen for the NCAA’s chances, and is a direct blowback from its investigation into the Tennessee football program for alleged breaches of NIL rules.

The Tennessee and Virginia AGs filed their lawsuit one day after that investigation was announced.


The NCAA was unsurprisingly displeased with the outcome, per a statement to ESPN’s Pete Thamel:

“Turning upside down rules overwhelmingly supported by member schools will aggravate an already-chaotic collegiate environment, further diminishing protections for student-athletes from exploitation. The NCAA fully supports student-athletes making money from their name, image and likeness and is making changes to deliver more benefits to student-athletes but an endless patchwork of state laws and court opinions make clear partnering with Congress is necessary to provide stability for the future of all college athletes.”

Meanwhile, Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti hailed the injunction as a victory for student-athletes and promised to continue the litigation, via the New Sentinel:

“The court’s grant of a preliminary injunction against the NCAA’s illegal NIL-recruitment ban ensures the rights of student-athletes will be protected for the duration of this case, but the bigger fight continues,” Skrmetti said in a statement. “We will litigate this case to the fullest extent necessary to ensure the NCAA’s monopoly cannot continue to harm Tennessee student-athletes.

“The NCAA is not above the law, and the law is on our side.”

The NCAA’s legal situation remains dire for reasons beyond this case as well, as it’s fighting on a number of legal fronts, including the Dartmouth unionization effort that could see other schools’ student-athletes organize a lawsuit that could open the door to unlimited transfers. And that’s to say nothing of the looming threat of the Big Ten and SEC breaking away.

FAQ’s About NCAA

Excuse me, but could you tell me what the NCAA is?

American collegiate athletics are overseen by the non-profit National Collegiate Athletic Association, more often known as the NCAA.

The NCAA’s role is what?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is responsible for establishing and enforcing rules and regulations for collegiate athletics, as well as for supervising athletic events and championships, encouraging student-athletes to excel academically, and maintaining a level playing field for all collegiate athletes.

What is the total number of NCAA divisions?

All three levels of competition in the NCAA are known as Divisions I, II, and III. When it comes to athletics and scholarship chances, each level has its unique standards.
How do the various NCAA divisions differ from one another?


Division I colleges are known for their extensive athletic programs, generous scholarship offerings, and top-tier competitiveness. Division I colleges have an emphasis on academics and athletics simultaneously, with no athletic scholarships given out, while Division II schools provide a somewhat lesser level of competition and scholarship chances.

Can you tell me how many schools are members of the NCAA?

More than 460,000 student-athletes from almost 1,100 member institutions and leagues make up the NCAA.

Which sports are supervised by the National Collegiate Athletic Association?

In addition to many other sports, it also regulates track and field, swimming, wrestling, football, soccer, baseball, and volleyball.

What academic resources does the NCAA provide to student-athletes?

In order to help student-athletes achieve their educational goals, the National Collegiate Athletic Association offers academic guidance, tutoring services, and strict eligibility standards, among other programs and initiatives.

Is financial aid available to student-athletes through the NCAA?

Division I and II student-athletes can get sports scholarships from National Collegiate Athletic Association member schools. Scholarships for athletics are not available at Division III schools, however students may be eligible for other forms of financial help.

How are the various tournaments and championships held by the NCAA?

Athletes and teams from member schools compete for national honors and titles in tournaments and championships put on by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

When it comes to collegiate athletics, how does the NCAA maintain honesty and fair play?

For the sake of honesty and fair play in collegiate athletics, the National Collegiate Athletic Association enforces standards pertaining to eligibility, recruitment, and ethical behavior. Institutions and people that are members of the NCAA are subject to fines and punishments in the event of rule violations.

With the help of these frequently asked questions, you can get a feel for what the NCAA is and how it regulates collegiate sports in the US.

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