June 21, 2021
WASHINGTON — In a major victory for college athletes, the Supreme Court unanimously invalidated a portion of the NCAA’s “amateurism” rules today.
The court ruled the NCAA can no longer bar colleges from providing athletes with education-related benefits such as free laptops or paid post-graduate internships.
The players contended the NCAA was operating a system that is a classic restraint of competition in violation of the federal laws barring price fixing in markets, including the labor market. The NCAA argued that the compensation rules were necessary to preserve amateurism in college sports.
A lower court found that the rules violated antitrust laws by restraining trade in the market for higher education combined with the players’ athletic services. The Ninth Circuit later affirmed the injunction against the NCAA’s compensation cap.
Writing for the high court, Justice Gorsuch agreed, saying the NCAA’s restrictions on player compensation violated federal antitrust law.
The case does not decide whether students can be paid salaries. But the ruling will help determine whether schools decide to offer athletes tens of thousands of dollars in education-related benefits for things such as computers, graduate scholarships, tutoring, study abroad and internships.