A Three-Tiered Circuit Split: Why the Supreme Court Was Right to Hear Alston v. NCAA


  • Sam Ehrlich Boise State University




intercollegiate sports, antitrust law, sports law, Supreme Court


This article provides a retrospective look at the Supreme Court’s decision to review the NCAA v. Alston antitrust litigation by defining and analyzing a three-tiered circuit split that existed in the courts’ application of antitrust law to NCAA amateurism regulations. Using mixed-methods citation network analysis review, this article shows wide disarray within the NCAA amateurism discrete citation network by analyzing the doctrinal differences in how three distinct jurisdictional silos applied antitrust law to four broad categories of NCAA rules. As such, this article argues that the Supreme Court was correct to grant certiorari to the Alstonpetitioners to resolve this circuit split and better define the precedential effect of the much-debated NCAA v. Board of Regents.

Author Biography

Sam Ehrlich, Boise State University

Sam Ehrlich, JD, PhD, is an assistant professor of legal studies with the Department of Management at the Boise State University College of Business of Economics. His research focuses on sports labor relations and the legal governance of sports leagues, specifically through sport-specific antitrust exemptions, athlete fairness in collective bargaining and employment, and tort liability for overseeing athletic organizations.



2022-02-25 — Updated on 2022-02-25




Original Research