What are the Odds? Judicial Decisions Involving the NCAA: 1973-2020

Chris Corr – Troy University
Richard M. Southall – University of South Carolina
Mark S. Nagel – University of South Carolina
Christopher Atwater – Troy University
Caroline Jenkins – Troy University
Michael S. Carroll – Troy University

From 1973 to 2020 there were 174 judges involved in 116 federal court cases in which the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was a party. Sixty-three percent of these cases resulted in a ruling favorable to the NCAA. Within this research setting, this study catalogued these judges’ backgrounds and experiences (e.g., birthplace, undergraduate institution[s] attended) to see if there were any discernible patterns or commonalities. While this study does not make any claims of causation or correlation, it does – given the importance placed on collegiate athletics in American society – pose the question: “Does identity formation and identity protection cognition shed light on judicial decisions during a time in which society’s views of college sport and amateurism underwent dramatic changes.