Supreme Court sides with student athletes, rules NCAA improperly capped education-related benefits

Written by on June 21, 2021

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(Fox News) – The Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision Monday that the NCAA has illegally restricted education-based benefits that could be used as compensation to student athletes.

The case was brought by current and former student athletes who played college football, as well as men’s and women’s college basketball. They sued the NCAA and 11 conferences, claiming that the rules restricting compensation violated antitrust laws. A lower court ruling maintained the NCAA’s rules of generally forbidding payment to student athletes, while allowing for education-related aid. The students accepted this, but the NCAA fought it, eventually bringing the case to the high court.

“To the extent [the NCAA] means to propose a sort of judicially ordained immunity from the terms of the Sherman Act for its restraints of trade—that we should overlook its restrictions because they happen to fall at the intersection of higher education, sports, and money—we cannot agree,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the court’s opinion.

Gorsuch made clear that the athletic organization can still enforce rules that forbid schools from paying students salaries or giving them outlandish gifts to lure them to their programs.

“Under the current decree, the NCAA is free to forbid in-kind benefits unrelated to a student’s actual education; nothing stops it from enforcing a ‘no Lamborghini’ rule,” he said.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion, took the NCAA to task, arguing that even the remaining restrictions are questionable.

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