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Sport SCOTUS strikes down NCAA limits on educational benefits

07:50  22 june  2021
07:50  22 june  2021 Source:   sbnation.com

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On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled against the National Collegiate Athletic Association in a case about limits on compensation for student-athletes. The Supreme Court 's decision opens the door for other antitrust lawsuits from former and current NCAA athletes over the cap on education -related benefits or over paying student-athletes. Black college football players in particular could have the makings of a class-action lawsuit; a recent analysis from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport found that graduation rates in that group had steadily declined to record-low numbers

The NCAA cannot enforce limits on education -related benefits that colleges and universities offer to students who play Division I sports, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, siding But the high court – unexpectedly to some Supreme Court tea-leaf readers – unanimously backed the former student athletes in an opinion that will now allow colleges and universities to woo top-performing athletes to their schools by showering them with funding for things like computers, study abroad programs, internships and other school-related benefits beyond scholarships that cover room and board.

Today the Supreme Court handed down its decision in NCAA v. Alston, upholding a district court ruling (and Ninth Circuit affirmation) that the NCAA’s current restrictions on education-related benefits to student athletes violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch authored the unanimous opinion, and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh authored the only concurring opinion. You can read the decision and Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion here.

a person wearing a helmet holding a baseball bat: Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alson (pictured) was one of the litigants in NCAA v. Alson. On June 21, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in the case that the NCAA’s restrictions on education-related benefits to student athletes violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. © Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alson (pictured) was one of the litigants in NCAA v. Alson. On June 21, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in the case that the NCAA’s restrictions on education-related benefits to student athletes violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.

In very short summary of the SCOTUS decision: the NCAA is fully subject to antitrust law and can’t shield itself by repeating “Amateurism” while clicking its heels three times; the NCAA’s restrictions on education-related benefits are, as the district court wrote, “patently and inexplicably stricter than necessary,” to the point of being unlawful; and that the NCAA can retain consumer demand for college sports while using substantially less restrictive alternatives.

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The court said the NCAA violated antitrust laws when it limited the amount students could receive for musical instruments, scientific equipment, postgraduate scholarships, tutoring, academic awards and paid internships. Writing for the court , Justice Neil Gorsuch said a lower The courts have said that even though the NCAA ’s limits on student benefits restrain some of that competition, the rules help preserve amateur status. The NCAA urged the court to rule in its favor. “For more than a hundred years, the distinct character of college sports has been that it’s played by students who are amateurs

The Supreme Court ruled the National Collegiate Athletic Association went too far in blocking some education -related aid for student athletes. The courts have said that even though the NCAA 's limits on student benefits restrain some of that competition, the rules help preserve amateur status. The NCAA had urged the court to rule in its favor. "For more than a hundred years, the distinct character of college sports has been that it's played by students who are amateurs, which is to say that they are not paid for their play," the organization's lawyer, Seth Waxman of Washington, told the justices when the

Alston – named for one of the plaintiffs, former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston – notably leaves the NCAA’s limits on compensation for athletic performance intact, as SCOTUS wasn’t asked to rule on those limits.

Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion is much shorter, much more strongly worded, and much more interesting than the unanimous opinion. Kavanaugh specifically says limits on athletic compensation raise serious questions under antitrust law, even though they were not part of the case by the time it reached SCOTUS. Kavanaugh makes three major points:

First, that Alston doesn’t address those compensation rules that were upheld by the district court.

Second, that Alston establishes how other compensation rules should be analyzed in the future – that is, by the same “rule of reason” standard.

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that the N.C.A.A. cannot bar relatively modest payments to student-athletes in a decision that questioned the association ’s monopoly power at a time when the business model of college sports is under increasing pressure. The Supreme Court last considered how antitrust laws applied to the association in 1984, ruling that its restrictions on television coverage of college football games were unlawful.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the NCAA Monday, upholding a lower-court order that will allow schools to provide unlimited academic-related benefits to their student-athletes. Why it matters: The ruling bars the NCAA from limiting education -related benefits that colleges can provide their athletes, such as laptops, tutoring services, internships and more.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeThe NCAA had argued that the l.

Third, that there are serious questions about whether those rules can pass the rule of reason standard. Kavanaugh even says the NCAA may lack a necessary justification.

Kavanaugh criticizes the NCAA’s justification – that compensation can be restricted to preserve amateurism, and amateurism requires uncompensated athletes – as circular reasoning. “Businesses like the NCAA cannot avoid the consequences of price-fixing labor by incorporating price-fixed labor into the definition of the product,” Kavanaugh writes.

“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. Those enormous sums of money flow to seemingly everyone except the student athletes. College presidents, athletic directors, coaches, conference commissioners, and NCAA executives take in six- and seven-figure salaries. Colleges build lavish new facilities. But the student athletes who generate the revenues, many of whom are African American and from lower-income backgrounds, end up with little or nothing.”

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The NCAA had asked the court to strike down the court’s ruling and let them keep all the restraints on athletes’ benefits in place, claiming the court should apply a “extremely deferential standard” to the organization since it’s a “a joint venture among members who must collaborate” on athlete compensation instead of a monopoly subject to antitrust rules. Gorsuch stated the NCAA was seeking "immunity from the normal operation of the antitrust laws,'' which the Supreme Court was unwilling to grant.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the NCAA in a major case involving whether its caps on what student-athletes can receive violate anti-trust laws. The legal victory for the athletes deals a blow to the NCAA 's longstanding policy of strictly limiting compensation beyond free tuition, room and board, but stops short of a sweeping decision allowing salaries for college athletes. Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the court, concluded "that relaxing these restrictions would not blur the distinction between college and professional sports and thus impair demand" among consumers, as argued by

Kavanaugh acknowledges that striking down the NCAA’s rules on compensation would create important new questions, including how non-revenue sports would be affected, and how compensation would comply with Title IX. But legislation or collective bargaining could answer those questions, he says.

He further acknowledges college sports’ place in America, before closing with his sharpest rebuke of the NCAA’s model.

“To be sure, the NCAA and its member colleges maintain important traditions that have become part of the fabric of America—game days in Tuscaloosa and South Bend; the packed gyms in Storrs and Durham; the women’s and men’s lacrosse championships on Memorial Day weekend; track and field meets in Eugene; the spring softball and baseball World Series in Oklahoma City and Omaha; the list goes on. But those traditions alone cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student athletes who are not fairly compensated. 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. The NCAA is not above the law.”

While Kavanaugh’s concurrence doesn’t carry the weight of case law, it is the strongest signal yet that the NCAA’s amateurism standard could be at risk in the not-too-distant future.

What do you think, readers? Does today’s decision go too far? Not far enough? How will this affect K-State’s competitiveness?

NCAA's Alternative NIL Proposal Waives Bylaw 12, But Limits Compensation .
The proposal includes a list of prohibitions that would be inconsistent with interim NIL policy and NCAA legislation. © Provided by Sports Illustrated As the NCAA looks to enact its recent temporary name, image and likeness proposal, athletes will follow the laws in the state where the school is located or follow the school's policy if the state does not have specific NIL guidelines. However, according to the copy of the solution obtained by Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger, the NCAA will waive Bylaw 12, which prohibits athletes from pay for play, effective July 1.

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