COLUMBUS – In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a ruling against the NCAA in the NCAA v. Alston case as announced on Monday. In a huge victory for college athletes, the Supreme Court held that the NCAA can no longer prevent student-athletes from receiving education-related benefits such as free laptops or paid post-graduate internships.
As the NCAA’s amateurism model continues to take hits, the court held that the NCAA’s limits of education-related benefits violated antitrust law.
“The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America,” Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion.
The court rejected the NCAA’s argument that receiving benefits will destroy players’ amateur status and held that the NCAA is not above the law.
The case was brought by former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston, as well as other student-athletes.
There has been talk for years about the money student-athletes bring to institutions and athletic programs. The door is now open for even more pushback against the NCAA.
“The bottom line is that the NCAA and its member colleges are suppressing the pay of student athletes who collectively generate billions of dollars in revenues for colleges every year,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. “Those enormous sums of money flow to seemingly everyone except the student athletes.”
But student-athletes won’t be getting paid as a result of the ruling. This means that now, the NCAA has to re-write the rules on what benefits it allows institutions to provide student-athletes. Institutions can decide how much they want to give student-athletes beyond their athletic scholarships.
The ruling also does not impact the name, image, and likeness controversy and state legislation that is set to take effect as soon as July 1. But some thought that the NCAA was holding out on passing name, image, and likeness legislation until this ruling. The NCAA’s Division I Council could likely pass name, image and likeness legislation at its meetings this week.
But no matter what happens with name, image, and likeness, this ruling is a huge win for Division I student-athletes in their fight against the NCAA’s amateurism model.
“Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate, and under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. “The NCAA is not above the law.”