Texas Longhorns crowd in the second half against the UCLA Bruins in the second round game of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Alamodome on March 24, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas.
Carmen Mandato | Getty Images
The Supreme Court on Monday handed Division I college athletes a unanimous victory in their legal battle against the National Collegiate Athletic Association over caps the organization sought to impose on education-related compensation.
The Supreme Court voted 9-0 in support of the rulings of lower courts finding that antitrust laws prevented the NCAA from limiting payments to athletes for items such as musical instruments or as compensation for internships. In its opinion, the court rejected the NCAA’s argument that their players’ amateur status could not be maintained if they could also be paid for education-related expenses.
“Simply put, this lawsuit is a recognized horizontal price-fixing in a market where the defendants exercise monopoly control,” wrote Judge Neil Gorsuch, an agent for former President Donald Trump, for the court.
The conservative judiciary wrote that it was “unclear what exactly the NCAA is looking for”.
“Inasmuch as it means to propose some sort of court-ordered immunity from the Sherman Act’s provisions for its trade restrictions – that we should overlook its restrictions because they happen to be at the intersection of higher education, sports and money – we can’t agree,” wrote Gorsuch.
The result was largely expected after the hearing in the March case. The decision upheld a federal district court injunction prohibiting the NCAA from restricting “education-related compensation and benefits.” The US 9th Court of Appeals previously approved the injunction.
The case of the Supreme Court, National Collegiate Athletic Assn. v. Alston, No. 20-512, is regardless of the ongoing controversy over the NCAA rules that prevent athletes from getting paid to gamble or get paid for advertising contracts.
The latter regulations have not yet been submitted to the Supreme Court and the opinion of the court has not compromised their legality.
However, Trump-appointed Judge Brett Kavanaugh suggested, in ardent agreement with Monday’s opinion, that these rules could also violate antitrust law. He wrote that “the NCAA is not above the law” and that “the NCAA’s business model is completely illegal in almost every other industry in America.”
“Everyone agrees that the NCAA can require student athletes to be enrolled as full students.
He added that it is “very questionable whether the NCAA and its member colleges can justify failing to pay student athletes a fair share of the revenue, which is based on the circular theory that the defining characteristic of college sport is that the College student athletes don’t pay. ”
“And if that alleged justification fails, it is not clear how the NCAA can legally defend its remaining compensation rules,” wrote Kavanaugh.
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