Friday, December 16, 2011

Image and Performance Rights of Future College Student-Athletes Already Seen as Waived as a Matter of Course: ESPN and NCAA Close College Sports Multi-Media Broadcast Deal Through 2023-24


Lucas Shaw has the story at The Wrap Media in ESPN, NCAA Extend Deal Through 2023-24, a $500 million deal putting even more multi-media broadcast rights to future performances by college student-athletes in the near-monopoly control of the ESPN -- for the profit of the NCAA.

The college student-athletes of 2023-2024 are in part right now still young kids in elementary school, but that fact is not hindering "the adults" of today from already cashing in on the personal images and future athletic efforts of tomorrow's student-athletes by signing lucrative multi-media deals relating to the sports performances of these young people -- from which the student-athletes themselves -- of course -- will, by today's rules, not be allowed to earn a cent, and all -- of course -- in the interest of furthering the "education" of those same young people.

It is bad enough that the current (non-)application of things like the antitrust laws permit the monopolistic exploitation of college sports by commercial enterprises, but there is an added diabolical factor in allowing this kind of blatant exploitation to be fixed years in advance by contracting parties to whom the exploited athletes of the future under that contract currently have not the slightest privity (of contract).

It is presumed in advance that the NCAA has and will retain the power to demand student-athletes to waive their commercial image and performance rights as a price for being allowed to compete in college "amateur" sports.

As a matter of law and legal theory, we have substantial problems with that.

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