Is this the next lawsuit that will change college sports?
Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
A few quick hits before we get into the stories for today.
I thought a fun way to put some context behind the growth of the Extra Points community would be to compare it to the size of D-I universities. As of this morning, Extra Points has 5,750 subscribers. If Wikipedia is correct, that means that the Extra Points community is now larger than the enrollment of 66 D-I schools. We just passed up the University of San Diego. The next target would be Western Illinois University, at 5,880.
By the end of the year, I think it is probable that Extra Points will clear 6,000 subscribers, which would make us larger than Seton Hall. So basically, by subscribing to this newsletter, you're helping us get into the Big East. I hope some of you still have your eligibility!
A free Extra Points subscription gets you two newsletters a week, which is wonderful. A paid Extra Points subscription gets you four newsletters a week, and access to our Discord server, AND the satisfaction that comes with supporting independent media.
Also, as we head into the Fall semester... I'm more than happy to give student and university discounts to Extra Points, especially if you plan on using any of this material in class. I'll also be happy to speak to your class! Check out our school discounts here, and drop me a line if I can help your class in any way.
The latest episode of Going For Two just dropped, and if you've subscribed, you should be able to listen to it wherever you get your podcasts. In this episode, we conclude our State of the Conference series at the P5 level, with a closer look at the state of the Big 12, such as it is. In this episode, you'll get:
A conversation with Bryan and Dennis Dodd of CBS about the major storylines in the league this year, and where on earth the conference will attempt to go from here on an existential level
What interests us about the actual Big 12 fall sports season, on the field.
A longer conversation with Bryan and myself about what was so frustrating about the Not-SEC press conference and announcement, and what might actually come out of this over the next two years. SPOILER: I'd be more optimistic about lacrosse scheduling than, uh, anything more substantial.
Going For Two drops every Wednesday, for free! You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, and just about anywhere else you can download a podcast. If you enjoy it, please let your friends know!
We'll wrap up our conference previews with a State of the G5 next week.
It's hard to overstate right now how important the Alston case has been for college athletics, even though it's only been a few months. The decision effectively kneecapped the immediate centralized authority of the NCAA, setting off a constitutional convention. It also scared the NCAA and various conferences from establishing restrictive NIL regulations. It hasn't completely destroyed amateurism, but it sure bloodied up its face a bit.
That knockout punch might come from Congress, but it's more likely to come from the courts. Late yesterday, we might have seen the beginning of that process.
Extra Points reader and contributor Sam Ehrlich dropped an important #thread here on the Eastern District of PA, which denied a motion to dismiss a case brought by athletes at Villanova over whether they should be classified as employees, and as such, be entitled to stuff like overtime and a minimum wage.
BREAKING: Eastern District of Pennsylvania denies motion to dismiss minimum wage/overtime lawsuit filed by Villanova football players. More to come.
— Sam C. Ehrlich (@samcehrlich)
Aug 25, 2021
The case isn't over by any means, but if my non-lawyer reading of this situation is correct, denying a motion to dismiss is still pretty notable, if for no other reason than to show how influential the Alston decision is in deciding future cases seeking to litigate amateurism. There is now precedent, from the Court's more conservative members no less, in taking a much more skeptical eye to the arguments the NCAA has typically been able to use.
The entire thread is worth your time. I'll leave this last note here for your consideration.
It is important to note that this is the motion to dismiss stage: lots of work still needs to be done. But we have, for the first time, a court ruling that college athletes can plausibly be deemed employees of their schools under the FLSA. WOW.
— Sam C. Ehrlich (@samcehrlich)
Aug 25, 2021
For there to be mass unionization in college athletics, collective bargaining, etc...athletes need to be legally recognized as employees, the red line that so many college administrators were adamant that should not be crossed. It's the last remaining foundational principle of the so-called 'Collegiate Model'.
Maybe this isn't the case that kills it. But it's certainly one worth monitoring.
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This edition of Extra Points is also supported by the Duke's Mayo Classic.
Next week, college football kicks off with a little twang in the form of two Duke's Mayo Classic games. First up is ECU vs App State on Thursday night, followed by what could be the game of the season...Georgia vs Clemson on Saturday night.
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NOTE: I'm going to be traveling all day tomorrow, and a few longer reporting stories need a teensy bit more time in the oven, so there's a chance there won't be a newsletter on Friday morning. If my travel plans slow things down, I promise I'll make it up to you next week.