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Preliminary Injunction Granted in State of Tennessee’s Fight Against the NCAA

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Tennessee Football. Photo by Ric Butler/Rocky Top Insider.

A big development in the case of the State of Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Virginia occurred on Friday.

In the Eastern District Court of Tennessee in Greenville, TN, on Friday, Judge Clifton L. Corker granted a preliminary injunction against the NCAA. The decision on Friday is the latest development in a long legal timeline between the attorney generals of Tennessee and Virginia and the NCAA.

The preliminary injunction suspends the NCAA’s ability to enforce its rules regarding name, image, and likeness (NIL) benefits for the time being.

“The NCAA’s prohibition likely violates federal antitrust law and harms student-athletes,” Corker wrote granting the injunction, according to the Associated Press.

Corker also referred to the “give and take of a free market” being a necessity for student-athletes to have true knowledge of their NIL value. This goes against the NCAA’s wishes to have NIL collectives only be a factor after a particular student-athlete, either from the high school scene or the transfer portal, makes their decision regarding a school.

“It is this suppression of negotiating leverage and the consequential lack of knowledge that harms student-athletes,” Corker wrote.

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Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel alluded to the same concerns when he penned an official statement in support of the lawsuit on February 9.

“Because we’re unable to help recruits navigate these issues, they don’t have the full picture of all the opportunities that are available to them, which can cause them to make poor decisions,” Heupel wrote in a statement to the NCAA. “Recruits often don’t know, like we do, the reputation and trustworthiness of who they are working with; without that information, they can pick a school that isn’t the best fit for them based on false promises of NIL that never come to fruition.”

“The injunction is not a final ruling in the case, but the judge’s decision will likely have an immediate and dramatic impact on how NIL deals are used in the recruiting process,” ABC’s Dan Murphy wrote.

Preliminary Injunction Conclusion:

“For the reasons provided herein, Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Doc. 2] is GRANTED. It is hereby ORDERED that, effective immediately, Defendant NCAA; its servants, agents, and employees; and all persons in active concert or participation with the NCAA, are restrained and enjoined from enforcing the NCAA Interim NIL Policy, the NCAA Bylaws, or any other authority to the extent such authority prohibits student-athletes from negotiating compensation for NIL with any third-party entity, including but not limited to boosters or a collective of boosters, until a full and final decision on the merits in the instant action.

It is further ORDERED that, effective immediately, the NCAA is restrained and enjoined from enforcing the Rule of Restitution (NCAA Bylaw as applied to the foregoing NIL activities until a full and final decision on the merits in the instant action.”

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