Is the NCAA a State Actor?

Reader Gary Bartz asked, in connection with the NCAA’s punishment of Penn State, whether the NCAA is a state actor. I haven’t followed the details of this controversy, but as a general matter the NCAA is not treated as a state actor, even though it has many state universities as members (though the answer may be different as to other organizations that are more dominated by public institutions, especially public institutions operated by the same state, see Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Ass’n (2001)).

I suppose that under some circumstances its actions might be treated as state action, if they are sufficiently connected to government action (state action doctrine on this is very complex, and I don’t want to go into it here). But as a general matter, its actions aren’t state action, and this I know because the Supreme Court tells me so, see NCAA v. Tarkanian (1988).