WASHINGTON (AP) — In a ruling that could help push changes in college athletics, the Supreme Court on Monday unanimously sided with a group of former college athletes in a dispute with the NCAA over rules limiting certain compensation.
The high court ruled that NCAA limits on the education-related benefits that colleges can offer athletes who play Division I basketball and football can’t be enforced.
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 violate federal antitrust law designed to promote competition.
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-related benefits for things such as computers, graduate scholarships, tutoring, study abroad and internships.
The NCAA issued this statement:
While today’s decision preserves the lower court ruling, it also reaffirms the NCAA’s authority to adopt reasonable rules and repeatedly notes that the NCAA remains free to articulate what are and are not truly educational benefits, consistent with the NCAA’s mission to support student-athletes.
“Even though the decision does not directly address name, image and likeness, the NCAA remains committed to supporting NIL benefits for student-athletes,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “Additionally, we remain committed to working with Congress to chart a path forward, which is a point the Supreme Court expressly stated in its ruling.”