SBD/Issue 73/Law & Politics

Change In Rules For Exempted Tournaments Prompts Lawsuit

The Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association (MIBA) filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA in U.S. District Court in NY. MIBA is a sponsor of the postseason and preseason National Invitational Tournaments. Jeffrey Kessler of the N.Y.-based law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges is serving as counsel for MIBA (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Rafael Hermoso writes that the "heart of the suit" is the legislation proposed by the NCAA to "change the rules governing exempted tournaments" like the NIT. The suit claims that the proposed legislation "would destroy the NIT tournaments," that the NCAA "views the Preseason NIT as a threat to its 'monopoly power' and is endangering" the NIT's ten-year, $24M TV contract with ESPN, which runs through the '09-'10 season. With the lawsuit, Hermoso writes that the NCAA "took its biggest, and most highly publicized, hit" on the proposed changes (N.Y. TIMES, 1/5). Also in N.Y., Leo Standora reports that by "alleging antitrust law violations," the NIT wants to "block the NCAA's proposed new preseason tourney rules." The NIT is seeking damages, but Kessler "declined to name a figure" and said, "This case is about getting fair treatment and surviving ... not the money" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/5). The NCAA conference commissioners voted in September to eliminate exempt events such as the Preseason NIT (AP, 1/4).

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