The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would review a case on whether the NCAA’s limits on compensation for student athletes violates antitrust laws. The justices will hear arguments in 2021, with a decision expected by the end of June.
“We are pleased the U.S. Supreme Court will review the NCAA’s right to provide student athletes the educational benefits they need to succeed in school and beyond,” wrote Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer, in a post on the NCAA’s official website. “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 court’s decision to hear the case follows the ruling of a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rule in May. The panel upheld a lower court ruling barring the NCAA from capping education-related compensation and benefits for Division I football and basketball.
The case brought by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston and others is now known as the Alston case.
As it heads to the Supreme Court, student-athletes who have scholarships to play sports involve 126 teams that play football and men’s and women’s basketball – both highly profitable programs that generate millions for universities and NCAA.
Both sides argue that lower court rulings have muddied the water in terms of regulations that protect athletes. Last year, California passed a law that requires schools to allow athletes to profit from their names and likenesses.
The NCAA said it would issue new policies early next year and it asked Congress to adopt the organization’s position to prevent states such as California from passing more stringent laws.
If the Supreme Court rules that the NCAA has violated antitrust laws, athletes at major college football and basketball programs would be able to receive more benefits than just a college education.
NCAA is expected to change its bylaws early next year and ask Congress to create a federal law that makes uniform rules for compensation and protects the association from more antitrust litigation.
It will be interesting to see what happens next. Depending on the NCAA’s actions and rulings by the Supreme Court, many changes could be on the way across the country in football and basketball programs.