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NCAA Division I Adding Additional Paid Coach

The NCAA’s Division I Council made several changes this week at the NCAA Convention. Among the most notable changes, the Division I Council voted to eliminate the voluntary coach allowed by NCAA Bylaw 11.02.06 and establish that sports, including baseball and softball, may have four paid coaches. The changes will begin on July 1.

Prior to the changes, teams were only allowed three paid coaches but could have an additional volunteer assistant. The volunteer assistant could not receive compensation despite the volunteer assistant coach performing similar functions to other coaches’ less certain recruiting activities.

Smart v. NCAA

In November, two former volunteer baseball coaches filed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA, alleging that the NCAA violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by fixing the compensation for volunteer baseball coaches.

The NCAA has lost in court on a similar issue before. In Law v. NCAA, the NCAA instituted a rule limiting the salary of Division I entry-level coaches. The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling, finding that the NCAA’s rule had an anticompetitive effect due to the rule “lowering the price of coaching services.”

With Law as precedent and the Supreme Court of the United States holding in NCAA v. Alston that NCAA rules are subject to antitrust scrutiny, the NCAA needed to alter the bylaws. While Smart may take years to play out as current/former volunteer coaches seek backpay, student-athletes, programs, and coaches will have a better future with the addition of a fourth paid coach.

Landis Barber is an attorney at Safran Law Offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or via his blog He can be reached on Twitter @Landisbarber.

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