NCAA to Pay Players

Supreme Court Will Hear Case That Challenges NCAA’s Compensation Restrictions For Athletes

The Supreme Court has agreed to listen to a case that is challenging the NCAA’s athlete compensation rules, USA Today reports. 

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced it will hear an appeal from the NCAA and 11 of its top-level conferences involved in a case that seeks to challenge the association’s restrictions on how much an athlete can receive for playing college sports. This move comes after an ongoing back and forth between athletes, conferences, and the association over whether athletes should be able to make money off their likeness, as well as be compensated for outside business ventures. Athletes rake in billions of dollars annually for the schools they attend and play for. 

“I think it would be hard to overstate the potential significance of it for several reasons, primarily because it is so rare for the Supreme Court to hear any cases involving the sports industry, much less college sports,” Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program and Tulane University’s associate provost for NCAA compliance, said in an interview last week. “And then, in this case, particularly to hear a challenge to the NCAA amateurism rules.”

The NCAA says that an antitrust law allows them to impose certain restrictions on such things as athlete compensation, which they say is done to promote relative competitive equality and to distinguish itself from professional sports, writes Steve Berkowitz of USA Today. 

“We are pleased the U.S. Supreme Court will review the NCAA’s right to provide student-athletes with the educational benefits they need to succeed in school and beyond,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “The NCAA and its members continue to believe that college campuses should be able to improve the student-athlete experience without facing never-ending litigation regarding these changes.”

The NCAA stands by its idea that changing the arrangement that is currently in place would cause issues for professional leagues and other joint-ventures. USA Today reports that if the lower court’s ruling holds up and the NCAA continues to be found in violation of antitrust law, it would no longer be allowed to decide, nationally, the guidelines for the amount benefits a school can give athletes, including academic performance and cash payments. 


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