High court sides with ex-athletes in NCAA compensation case
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court decided unanimously Monday that the NCAA can’t enforce rules limiting education-related benefits — like computers and paid internships — that colleges offer to student-athletes, a ruling that could help push changes in how the student-athletes are compensated.
The case doesn’t decide whether students can be paid salaries. Instead, the ruling will help determine whether schools decide to offer athletes tens of thousands of dollars in education benefits for things including tutoring, study abroad programs and graduate scholarships.
The high court said that NCAA limits on the education-related benefits that colleges can offer athletes who play Division I basketball and football violate antitrust laws.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the court that the NCAA sought “immunity from the normal operation of the antitrust laws.” And he said that allowing colleges and universities to offer "enhanced education-related benefits ... may encourage scholastic achievement and allow student-athletes a measure of compensation more consistent with the value they bring to their schools.”
Under current NCAA rules, students cannot be paid, and the scholarship money colleges can offer is capped at the cost of attending the school. The NCAA had defended its rules as necessary to preserve the amateur nature of college sports.
But the former athletes who brought the case, including former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston, argued that the NCAA’s rules on education-related compensation were unfair and violated federal antitrust law designed to promote competition. The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling barring the NCAA from enforcing those rules.
As a result of the ruling, the NCAA itself can’t bar schools from sweetening their offers to...