The NCAA went to the Supreme Court in March with high hopes. arguing before the judges in NCAA vs AlstonAnd the college sports“The board made the case that it knew what was best for Sports and the athletes who play them—and as a result, the NCAA must command broad respect from the court in setting the rules that limit compensation for these athletes.
“I think the NCAA was hoping that the Supreme Court would agree with its general position that NCAA college athletics are sacred, and that they are inexorably intertwined with higher education and amateur sports,” Michael Burwick, partner and sports attorney at law firm Grinspoon Marder says. men’s magazine.
The judges did not see it that way. On June 21, the court unanimously issued Ruled against the NCAA, to confirm a lower court ruling that the NCAA’s sweeping restrictions on education-related benefits for athletes violate antitrust law. Legally speaking, the NCAA’s view of itself as the arbiter of what should be allowed in college sports is now in tatters — “dead,” as Burwick puts it.
Matt Brown, Publisher College Sports Business Newsletter Bonus Points, is more frank about the scale of the NCAA defeat.
“They got kicked in the butt,” he says. “I think it was the worst possible outcome for the NCAA.”
The NCAA was looking for an exemption from antitrust laws, which it would have exercised in future lawsuits over player compensation.
The allston The case was, formally, only about one narrow issue of athletes’ compensation. She addressed whether the NCAA could impose a national cap on what schools can offer athletes in education-related benefits (such as laptop computers and school supplies). But in the long run, the ruling is likely to have a much broader impact on how universities treat athletes.
plaintiffs in allston, a group of college athletes past and present, have argued that the NCAA’s education-related benefit restrictions violate antitrust law. The NCAA argued at length that it did not, citing the “pro-competition” benefits of amateurs. Essentially, the NCAA argued that the welfare of college sports would suffer if the NCAA couldn’t make its own rules — and that people enjoy college sports precisely because the athletes are unpaid amateurs. District Court in California Not OK in 2019And now the Supreme Court as well.
“Basically, the NCAA position has always been, ‘If you don’t allow our restrictions or our system, you will destroy it,'” says Jonathan L. Israel, sports attorney and partner at Foley & Lardner LLP. It has been their main argument for many years. allston Put this to rest.”
allston The hobby as we know it does not end, but it opens the door in that direction.
The ruling on its own wouldn’t fundamentally change college sports. The case at hand was limited in scope, and the decision for the plaintiffs is in fact not so Ask Schools to do anything. It simply says that the NCAA cannot put blanket hats on the education-related benefits for athletes. Schools can still choose to offer whatever they want. The only difference is that now they will risk employment damage if other universities choose to offer more.
The NCAA has long sought antitrust exemption, First of Congress Then from the Supreme Court. There is no indication that one of them is imminent. The lack of an exception creates an opportunity for a future plaintiff to challenge other NCAA restrictions, such as prohibiting athletes from receiving a portion of the revenue they generate for their schools. (Football Teams Conference Energy Breed Tens of millions of dollars a year in TV money, and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship is a هي Billion dollar event.) It is possible, Israel says, that the verdict could shift to high school sports associations, giving high school students the opportunity to benefit from their performance (or at least for some of them to go to court in search of that right). It will certainly affect future efforts to control players You can earn endorsement money.
Israel says, “The door is open.” “It’s possible that the NCAA isn’t the only one finding itself in the crossfire here. I suspect conferences, high school associations, and anyone trying to control name, image, and likeness in certain ways might look carefully at allston Issue.”
In addition to losing this case by unanimous decision, the NCAA saw its model capricious in Opinion Suggestions Written by Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
He wrote, “Nowhere else in America can firms get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a wage at a fair market price on the theory that their product is limited by not paying their workers a wage at a fair market price.” “The NCAA is not above the law.”
NCAA president Mark Emmert played down this view, saying the most notable thing about it was that eight other judges had not signed off. But it left the indelible impression that at least one conservative judge doesn’t buy the NCAA legal case at all.
“I’d like to look at Kavang’s less favorable opinion on the NCAA conviction and more on the fact that in his opinion, the NCAA had no leg to stand on in this case, and also anything about future issues involving financial rewards outside of the educational field,” Borwick says. “.
There are many signs that the NCAA is in trouble.
Already, lawmakers and state governors from both political parties have targeted the assembly. Many have passed laws forcing the NCAA to end its policy of banning athletes from collecting endorsement funds.
Both Democratic and Republican members of Congress They got their shots too. Two Democratic senators recently Submit a bill It would give college athletes union rights, something they didn’t have before. And while this bill is unlikely to pass any time soon, its mere existence is evidence of how the NCAA has become an objective in career policy.
So far, the only official action that has forced the NCAA has been state laws (in twenty countries) which made the name, image and likeness of the association illegal.
Amateur is not dead yet. It is at least conceivable that the NCAA will eventually persuade Congress to pass national laws that would favor the current model. This could come in the form of an antitrust exemption or a national NIL bill with more restrictions than many existing state laws.
“It’s not impossible for the NCAA to win in the end,” Brown says.
But if you mix the NCAA’s failed appeal for a pardon from the Supreme Court, and add the political headwinds facing the union in Congress and at the state level, and it becomes clear that college sports enthusiasts are at risk. Borwick thinks it is “highly likely” that broader structural reform will arrive well over the next decade.
“I don’t really want to give it odds,” he says, “but in terms of directly pushing players, and the outcome of that going to be guilds, I think this has a better than 50/50 chance of crossing over in the next five years.”
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