Supreme Court rules against NCAA on compensation for athletes

Supreme Court rules against NCAA on compensation for athletes

“The NCAA is not above the law,” Minister Brett Kavanaugh wrote in an opinion, questioning the monopoly nature of the association’s rules.

The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously affirmed a determination on Monday that provides a pathway to how collegiate athletes can be rewarded, and that it also opens the door to future legal action that can hit more significantly the current business model of the NCAA.

The minister Neil gorsuch wrote the opinion of the Court that reaffirmed a ruling of a District Court to the effect that the NCAA violated antitrust laws by setting limits on the education-related benefits that schools can provide to athletes. The decision allows schools to provide athletes with unlimited compensationas long as it is connected in some way to their education.

Gorsuch wrote that the highest court in the nation limited the scope of its decision to those benefits related to education, rather than delving deeper into issues related to the association’s business model. The minister Brett kavanaugh published a concurrent opinion that takes a tougher stance, suggesting that the NCAA rules that restrict any kind of compensation – including direct payment for athletic achievements – may not withstand future legal challenges under antitrust laws.

The NCAA is not above the law“, He said Kavanaugh. “The NCAA it disguises its arguments for not paying student athletes under innocuous labels. But labels cannot disguise reality: the NCAA business model would be downright illegal in almost any other industry from America”.

The idea that collegiate athletes should not be paid, a basic principle throughout the NCAA’s 115 years, has faced intense scrutiny in recent times.. Federal antitrust lawsuits have slowly eroded strict amateurism laws over the past decade. Politicians in 19 states have passed laws in the last couple of years that reject the organization’s rules, and will soon allow athletes to start collecting money from outside sponsors., and members of Congress are currently debating at least half a dozen initiatives aimed at reforming the NCAA. Monday’s ruling in the case NCAA v. Alston it represents another blow during a particularly uncertain time for the future of amateurism.

“It’s tremendous to win this 9-0,” said the plaintiff’s lead attorney, Jeffrey kessler, to ESPN this monday morning. “We hope this is the next big step on the road to a competitive and fair system for these athletes.”

The decision Alston marks the first time in more than 30 years that the Supreme court has opined on the government of college sports. In 1985, the cut confirmed a sentence in the case NCAA v. Board of Regents of Oklahoma University in which the NCAA it was breaking antitrust laws by limiting the number of times individual schools could appear on television. The resulting shift led to an explosion in television rights revenue that has reshaped collegiate sports.. The 1985 Regents case found that the NCAA it was illegally restricting the income potential of individual schools. The decision in this week’s Alston case claims the NCAA has been illegally restricting the earning potential of individual athletes..

Despite failing against the NCAA in 1985, the opinion of the Court in that case – written by Minister John paul stevens– said the association should be given “wide latitude” to create rules that it feels are best suited for the preservation of amateurism and the educational benefits that come with it. The appeal of the NCAA in the Alston case argued that a judge’s decision in a District court unjustly it deprived them of that wide latitude necessary for the creation of their own rules.

The NCAA asked the Supreme court review a case filed for the first time in 2014 by the former football player from West Virginia, Shawne Alston. The judge Claudia wilken failed the Alston case in 2019, determining that schools must be able to provide their athletes with educational equipment, study abroad programs, internships, and even cash rewards for academic achievement. The lawyers of the NCAA argued that these measures were “micromanagement” rules that should be determined by the members of the NCAA, and that the fringe benefits were “similar to professional salaries.”

“Although the decision does not refer directly to name, image and likeness, the NCAA remains committed to supporting related benefits for student-athletes, “stated the president of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, it’s a statement. “Additionally, we remain committed to working with the Congress to create a path forward, which is a point that the Supreme court he expressly mentioned in his decision. “

Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion to underline that, although the determination of the cut was narrow in this case, “the remaining rules of the NCAA they also raise serious questions about compensation under antitrust laws. “

“All the restaurants in a region cannot come together to cut cook salaries under the theory that ‘customers prefer’ food from low-paid cooks,” he explained. Kavanaugh. “Law firms cannot conspire to cut attorneys’ salaries in the name of providing legal services out of ‘love of the law.’ Hospitals cannot agree to limit the entry of nurses to create a ‘purer’ way to help the sick. News organizations cannot join forces to lower pay for reporters to preserve a ‘tradition’ of public journalism. Movie studios cannot cut off cameraman benefits to protect a ‘spirit of amateurism’ in Hollywood. with pricing is work with pricing. “

Alston and their representatives argued that any restrictions placed on what schools can offer their athletes as compensation were illegal. New antitrust lawsuits that advance similar arguments against the NCAA have already been entered.

Steve Berman, who was a lawyer in the Alson case, is currently leading another lawsuit that challenges the limits placed by the NCAA regarding income opportunities by name, image and likeness for collegiate athletes. Berman said to ESPN Monday that his firm is considering modifying its legal action to be more aggressive, asking the court to remove any restrictions on the type of compensation schools can provide their athletes.

“In light of Minister Kavanaugh’s comments, we are considering whether we should challenge pay-for-pay again,” he said. Berman. “Kavanaugh is suggesting you have to go all out“.

The NCAA has asked Congress to help create a limited antitrust waiver that protects the association from future lawsuits., in turn allowing the organization to continue to impose restrictions on how athletes can be compensated, something he argues is critical to maintaining a distinction between professional and collegiate sports. Until now, many members of the Congress they have been reluctant to provide such an exemption.

“The decision of the Supreme court today underscores how much the tide is turning against the NCAA and their unfair treatment of college athletes, “said Senator Chris murphy, D-Connecticut, who has been one of the most vocal critics against the association on Capitol Hill. “The status quo of ‘amateurism’ is finally changing, and the NCAA It no longer has an open letter to control the lives of athletes and monopolize the market. This kind of justice, and basic rights, athletes deserve. “

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