(RepublicanInformer.com)- The current way the NCAA does business was thrown into disarray Monday.
The Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that provides for increases in how college athletes can be compensated. It also opens the possibility that future legal challenges could be filed to the association’s business model.
By upholding the ruling, the Supreme Court agreed that the NCAA is in violation of antitrust laws since they placed limits on the benefits schools are allowed to provide to their athletes.
Now, schools are allowed to provide all athletes unlimited compensation, as long as that compensation is in some way tied to their education.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion, said the Supreme Court narrowed the scope of the decision to those particular benefits, rather than diving deeper into the overall business model of the NCAA.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh took it one step further in his concurring opinion. He suggested the current NCAA rules that restrict compensation of any type may not hold up in any future challenge based on antitrust. That foreshadows that college athletes could, at some time in the future, be paid directly by their schools.
As Kavanaugh wrote:
“The NCAA is not above the law. The NCAA couches its arguments for not paying student athletes in innocuous labels. But the labels cannot disguise the reality: The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.”
Gorsuch wrote that the NCAA’s rules are anti-competitive under the federal Sherman Antitrust Act. The NCAA currently prohibits payments to athletes for education-related expenses such as for science equipment, computers and musical instruments.
The NCAA considers its athletes to be amateurs, but it’s becoming harder and harder for them to back up those claims. Colleges are profiting immensely from college sports, and they’re even using the image, name and likeness of their athletes to do so.
Gorsuch drew specifically on some of the money that’s raked in by these colleges and paid to various athletic employees. He wrote:
“Those who run this enterprise profit in a different way than the student-athletes whose activities they oversee. The president of the NCAA earns nearly $4 million per year.”
Commissioners of the major conferences in college sports earn between $2 million and $5 million every year. Athletic directors at major universities can early more than $1 million per year, and some college football coaches earn salaries north of $11 million.
All of this is making it hard for the NCAA to back up its claim that its athletes are amateurs and shouldn’t be paid.
Still, the NCAA released a statement following the ruling that said it has leeway to adopt “reasonable rules,” meaning it can decide what the scope of these education-related benefits are. As Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, said in the statement:
“Even though the decision does not directly address name, image and likeness, the NCAA remains committed to supporting NIL benefits for student-athletes.”