How Can a College Athlete Protect His/Her Brand?

How Can a College Athlete Protect His/Her Brand?

In June of 2017, the University of Virginia signed a contract with its Division I athletes, which affords the athletes specific written assurances from he university regarding medical expenses, scholarships, transfer releases, and degree completion. This contract was signed in conjunction with the athlete signing his/her letter of intent. Thus, the student athlete is being given more valuable consideration in exchange for their eligibility.

The question then becomes can an athlete now request a contract with their university that guarantees protection of their image?

In 2015 in O’Bannon v. NCAA, the 9th Circuit held that the NCAA violated anti-trust laws with its rules on amateur status of athletes. The athletes hoped that the Court would hold that if such anti-trust violations existed they could then be compensated for the use of their likeness in video games and other media. The Court held however that the anti-trust wrongs were righted when the colleges offered up to a full-scholarship to the athletes in exchange for their playing for the school. Both O’Bannon and the NCAA petitioned for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court denied both petitioners.

Thusly, if college athletes want more control over the use of their own image they should insist on signing contracts with their universities that offer them protection of their own personal brand.

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