In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA, paving the way for college athletes to receive more compensation for competing in their schools.
The ruling, which upheld a 2014 decision by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, said athletes can receive unlimited compensation from schools, as long as the payments are related to education.
In the decisionJudge Neil Gorsuch wrote that while others will say that the district court did not go far enough in allowing athletes to receive compensation, others will say that it went too far and that it devalues the benefits of being an amateur athlete. However, he said the Supreme Court could only uphold the lower court’s decision and say that it acted within legal limits to allow athletes to receive education-related compensation.
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But what does this mean for athletes in the future? Here’s a breakdown of what we know.
What does this mean for NCAA athletes?
This Supreme Court decision in National Collegiate Athletic Association vs. Alston will now allow athletes to receive education-related payments from their schools.
The lower court ruling had said that while there may be limits on the number of student-athletes who are compensated outside of education, anything that is related to education cannot be limited, and that doing so would be a violation of antitrust laws.
That ruling also determined that there could be unlimited non-cash benefits related to education, including post-eligibility internships.
For now, this only opens the door to start compensating athletes. Student-athletes can now receive money to pay for laptops and textbooks.
Ultimately, however, this should lead to future challenges over whether NCAA athletes can be paid to compete. Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote a particularly critical concurring opinion saying that “the NCAA business model would be outright illegal in almost any other industry in America,” noting that restaurants could not cut cook salaries in one area. because they felt that customers would prefer to do so. eating from underpaid cooks, along with a host of other examples of an industry’s collective decision to cut wages.
He continued: “Pricing work is pricing work. And pricing work is normally a textbook antitrust problem because it extinguishes the free market in which individuals can get fair compensation for their work. “.
According to ESPN, the plaintiff’s lead attorney, Shawne Alston, a former West Virginia football player, said it was “tremendous to win this 9-0.”
“Hopefully this is the next important step on the road to a truly fair competitive system for these athletes.”
How does this affect NIL legislation?
This latest decision, while a boon to athletes, does not affect the NIL legislation and the discussion that has been going on.
As states across the country continue to pass bills that allow athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, the NCAA is cooperating with the measure. ESPN reported on Friday that NCAA President Mark Emmert has told schools that he will pass temporary rules that allow athletes to benefit from their profile, and that all member schools must pass their own legislation for this to happen.
While that will be another source of income for athletes, with the latest Supreme Court ruling, it might not be the last.
In a statement sent to Emmert member schools, Obtained by The Athletic, the NCAA said that while the Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling, it also allowed the NCAA to create its own rules about what educational benefits are and are not.
“Although the decision does not directly address name, image and likeness, the NCAA remains committed to supporting NIL benefits for student-athletes,” Emmert said in the statement. “In addition, we remain committed to working with Congress to chart a way forward, which is a point that the Supreme Court expressly stated in its ruling.”