Years ago members of major conferences in college football formed what was known as the College Football Association. The idea of this was to promote the interests of major football-playing schools within the NCAA structure. The University of Oklahoma was a respondent in this particular case.
In 1979 the CFA member schools began to advocate that colleges with major football programs should have a greater voice in the formulation of football television policy than they had in the NCAA. CFA tried to negotiate a television agreement of its own, developed a plan, and was offered a contract by NBC. This would have allowed the member schools more television appearances, and would have increased the overall revenues realized by CFA members. As a result the NCAA publicly announced that any school participating in this agreement would be punished in all sports at that school.
On September 8, 1981 respondents commenced this action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and obtained a preliminary injunction preventing the NCAA from initiating disciplinary proceedings of otherwise interfering with the CFA’s efforts to perform its agreement with NBC. Notwithstanding the entry of the injunction, most CFA members were unwilling to commit themselves to the new contractual arrangement with the NBC in the face of the threatened sanctions and therefore the agreement was never finalized.
The challenged practices of the NCAA constitute a “restraint of trade” in the sense that it limits member’s freedom to negotiate and enter into their own television contracts.