NCAA works with CBS on fantasy sport issue
CBS Sports’ decision to base its college football fantasy game on actual Division I Football Bowl Subdivision student-athletes has prompted the NCAA to work further with its broadcast partner to protect the amateur status of all student-athletes and maintain the distinction between professional sports and collegiate athletics.
CBS Sports announced yesterday that it was giving its current Fantasy College Football game “a dramatic facelift” by offering fantasy team owners the opportunity to draft real student-athletes as opposed to team units (for example, Oklahoma QBs, Boston College RBs, Auburn WRs) that do not disclose student-athlete names. Participants in the fantasy league will not be charged an entry fee or be eligible for any prize associated with the game.
Earlier this month, the NCAA issued an official interpretation stating that any student-athletes whose names are used in conjunction with a fantasy sports game would be required to take action to stop the third party in order to remain eligible. However, the NCAA has sent notice to CBS Sports that its league could jeopardize student-athlete eligibility.
The NCAA’s action does not prevent institutions and individual student-athletes from contacting CBS Sports or any third party if they believe their amateurism has been jeopardized.
CBS Sports believes that because of a June U.S. Federal Court of Appeals decision applying Missouri state law to a professional baseball fantasy league, it can legally operate the league under its new parameters. The court found that Major League Baseball did not own player names and statistics, and both could be used by companies operating fantasy leagues.
The Association is in the process of reviewing its amateurism bylaws with an eye toward updating the language that was developed to deal with print media, posters and calendars and does not easily translate to the new media landscape.
This issue is one of the topics on the agenda of the Division I Leadership Council, which will meet for the first time August 6 in Indianapolis. However, the group will be in the initial stages of discussions on the topic and any legislative changes will take some time to be drafted and work their way through the governance structure. The Board of Directors will also review the topic at its August 7 meeting.
The Division I Task Force on Commercial Activity in Intercollegiate Athletics is also working on this issue, and plans to discuss if licensing of NCAA and/or institutional trademarks and mascots might be an effective way to ensure proper quality control for college fantasy football games.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association