"The NCAA is not above the law." Those seven words capped Justice Brett Kavanaugh's searing concurring opinion issued in connection with Monday's (June 21) unanimous (9-0) U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Alston v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, in which the Court held that the NCAA's limits on education-related benefits constituted a violation of antitrust law. Though the legal issue decided was relatively narrow in scope, the ruling sent shockwaves across the country, calling into question, and in many ways, paving the way for future challenges to the NCAA's "amateurism" rules – including the arcane limits on student-athletes' abilities to receive compensation from endorsements. This ruling came during an already perilous time for the NCAA, which has been facing the specter of chaos wrought by a slew of states' name, image and likeness (NIL) legislations coming down the pipe, and Congress failing to pass the uniform legislation at the 11th hour last week. Now, just when it seemed that, after years of foot-dragging, the buck would be coming back to the NCAA for it to finally take ownership of meaningful reforms to its stance on NIL. NCAA President Mark Emmert circulated a memorandum yesterday, Wednesday (June 23), advising its constituent colleges and universities that they (not the NCAA) would be responsible for adopting their own policies within the not-yet-developed interim NIL guidelines to be hastily prepared by the NCAA – all in just seven (!) days' time.

Lucky for you, I will not shirk my responsibility to deliver a selection of noteworthy stories in this week's Spotlight:

  • One of the world's most marketable athletes, Portugal superstar footballer (I'm far more worldly than to say "soccer player"), Cristiano Ronaldo had a viral moment in which he spurned a Coca-Cola product placement in favor of aqua  by removing two Coke bottles from the podium at a press conference following a European Football Championship match – but his desire not to be associated with the brand (at least not without compensation) did not actually have the billion dollar financial impact on Coca-Cola as widely reported.
  • As Amazon's MGM Studios acquisition comes under regulatory scrutiny, Netflix notches a point in the streaming wars, signing Steven Spielberg's production company, Amblin to a multi-production deal to "phone home" over.
  • Jay-Z's 1995 album, "Reasonable Doubt," is again the subject of a lawsuit — this time, with Roc-a-Fella Records suing (and enjoining) its co-founder Damon Dash for allegedly seeking to mint the album as a non-fungible token (NFT). For his part, Dash claims he was only seeking to sell his interest in Roc-a-Fella Records. Most of my "Reasonable Doubt" song title puns from last week are applicable here, so I am not going to repeat them (read: writer's block).
  • Financial services company Robinhood prevailed — for now — against rapper and actor Ice Cube in a lawsuit over the use of his name, image, and likeness together with his song lyric, "[redacted]" in what Robinhood has construed as a company newslett... Never mind. Nothing to see here. Carry on...

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