The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the NCAA regulations that restrict student-athletes from receiving compensation violate U.S. antitrust law.
The court unanimously ruled in favor of loosening the rules for colleges and universities to let schools provide education-related benefits to student athletes. Some examples of benefits described in the court ruling are, but are not limited to, “scholarships for graduate or vocational school, payments for academic tutoring, or paid posteligibility internships.”
The decision by the Supreme Court could be a crucial moment in athletes’ fight to be compensated for their participation in college sports.
Athletic departments brought in a total of $18.9 billion in revenue in 2019.
The ruling, however, does not mean that college athletes will now be given large sums of money like professional athletes.
“On no account, the court found, could such education-related benefits be ‘confused with a professional athlete’s salary.’ If anything, they ’emphasize that the recipients are students.’ Enjoining the NCAA’s restrictions on these forms of compensation alone, the court concluded, would be substantially less restrictive than the NCAA’s current rules and yet fully capable of preserving consumer demand for college sports.”
In the past year, 19 states have attempted to allow student athletes to earn money from their name, image and likeness (NIL) — many of those laws are coming into effect July 1, 2021.
The ruling does not address any NIL issues, but Congress is currently conducting hearings about the issue. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, has convened on the topic several times this month.
“Everyone agrees that the NCAA can require student athletes to be enrolled students in good standing,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote. “But the NCAA’s business model of using unpaid student athletes to generate billions of dollars in revenue for the colleges raises serious questions under the antitrust laws.”