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Professor Ross comments in the media on Ninth Circuit NCAA decision

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Law professor Stephen F. Ross, director of the Institute for Sports Law, Policy, and Research, was interviewed by several media outlets regarding the Sept. 30 ruling of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Edward O'Bannon, Jr. v. NCAA, et al. The judges ruled that NCAA rules limiting college athlete compensation to the cost of attendance are in compliance with federal antitrust laws.

“The 2-1 majority opinion is a huge victory for the major college football and basketball programs in the country by letting them do exactly what they want to do while losing on every single major legal point they raised in the appeal," Ross told The Associated Press.

In a Bloomberg News article, Ross called the decision “a huge victory for the NCAA” because, as he explained to Law360, “it allows the autonomous 'Power Five' conferences to do exactly what they want to do and only prohibits them from doing stuff that they no longer want to do.” 

Ross told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the decision is “the equivalent of a teenager having done wrong and telling them that they are grounded and can’t go driving around at night when they were already planning on having friends over to watch TV.”

The legal battle surrounding college athlete compensation is far from over, however. Attorney Jeff Kessler is bringing another case against the NCAA beginning Oct. 1. Ross, though, observed in another Bloomberg News article that the Ninth Circuit’s O’Bannon decision “is a terrible precedent” for Kessler’s case.

Ross, the Lewis H. Vovakis Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Penn State Law, has taught and written about sports and antitrust law for nearly three decades, and has provided expert testimony and advice on sports antitrust issues to governmental entities in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He previously clerked for then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, served as minority counsel for the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. Senate, and worked as an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.

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