NCAA v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma

In 1981, petitioner National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted a plan for the televising of college football games of its member institutions for the 1982-1985 seasons. The plan recites that it is intended to reduce the adverse effect of live television upon football game attendance. The plan limits the total amount of televised intercollegiate football games and the number of games that any one college may televise, and no member of the NCAA is permitted to make any sale of television rights except in accordance with the plan. The NCAA has separate agreements with the two carrying networks, the American Broadcasting Cos. and the Columbia Broadcasting System, granting each network the right to telecast the live “exposures” described in the plan. Each network agreed to pay a specified “minimum aggregate compensation” to the participating NCAA members, and was authorized to negotiate directly with the members for the right to televise their games. Respondent Universities, in addition to being NCAA members, are members of the College Football Association (CFA), which was originally organized to promote the interests of major football-playing colleges within the NCAA structure, but whose members eventually claimed that they should have a greater voice in the formulation of football television policy than they had in the NCAA. The CFA accordingly negotiated a contract with the National Broadcasting Co. that would have allowed a more liberal number of television appearances for each college and would have increased the revenues realized by CFA members. In response, the NCAA announced that it would take disciplinary action against any CFA member that complied with the CFA-NBC contract. Respondents then commenced an action in Federal District Court, which, after an extended trial, held that the controls exercised by the NCAA over the televising of college football games violated § 1 of the Sherman Act, and accordingly granted injunctive relief. The court found that competition in the relevant market — defined as “live college football television” — had been restrained in three ways: (1) the NCAA fixed the price for particular telecasts; (2) its exclusive network contracts were tantamount to a group boycott of all other potential broadcasters