The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the National Collegiate Athlete Association can’t stop student-athletes from receiving ‘education-related’ benefits, rejecting the notion that compensation would alienate fans.
So what does that mean? It means schools could offer compensaton beyond the cost of attending college, such as scholarships for graduate or vocational schools, internships, computer equipment and study-abroad programs – and limited cash awards for athlets who do well in the classroom.
This decision doesn’t open up the floodgates for unlimited pay for college athletes, rather the NCAA must allow colleges to recruite athlets by offering them additional compensation and benefits.
The court decision on Monday upheld lower court rulings that said the NCAA unlawfully limited schools from competing for player talent by offering better benefits, to the detriment of college athletes.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the decision, said while the NCAA is entitled to some leeway, that didn’t mean the association was entitled to de facto immunity from the Sherman Act, the central federal law barring anticompetitive conduct, just because its restrictions “happen to fall at the intersection of higher education, sports, and money.”
“This court has regularly refused materially identical requests from litigants seeking special dispensation from the Sherman Act on the ground that their restraints of trade serve uniquely important social objectives beyond enhancing competition,” he wrote.