June 22, 2021

SCOTUS Rules on Student Athletes

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“The Supreme Court on Monday… unanimously ruled that the National Collegiate Athletic Association cannot prohibit its member schools from providing athletes with certain forms of education-related benefits, such as paid post-graduate internships, scholarships for graduate school, or free laptops or musical instruments.” SCOTUSblog

Both sides support the decision and additionally call for student athletes to be paid:

“The NCAA’s only remaining justification for protecting [its] monopoly power, Gorsuch writes, is the protection of amateurism in sports. However, Gorsuch points out that this amateurism is curiously targeted. The NCAA makes billions of dollars every year, he notes from the district court’s trial record, and its executives earn millions each year in compensation. That makes the restrictions on athlete compensation look pretty manipulative, if not arbitrary…

“The writing may be on the wall for the NCAA and its selective commitment to amateurism. Still, this decision doesn’t unleash salary wars in college sports — at least not yet. The Supreme Court is for now just limiting and refining the NCAA’s ability to regulate non-monetary compensation offered by schools. That alone will undermine its monopoly power, and states may end up doing the rest.”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

“The president of the NCAA is paid nearly $4 million a year, the conference commissioners make as much as $5 million and top NCAA coaches more than $10 million. It might be possible to defend the importance of amateur competition if university-level coaches were paid like associate professors of history at those institutions (average salary: $69,710 in 2020). It is not, however, possible to defend a system in which everybody involved is allowed to make as much money as they possibly can except for the players who are actually putting their bodies on the line…

“A music student can perform a paying concert, a journalism student is allowed to sell a story, and a computer science student can be part of a tech start-up. So why shouldn’t a basketball player be able to sell autographs to willing fans?”
Scott Lemieux, NBC News Think

“The Supreme Court’s decision is indeed historic, but Kavanaugh is correct: It does not go nearly far enough. If the NCAA has violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, then it should not just have to allow colleges to offer more education-related benefits to student athletes — it should have to allow colleges to pay their money-making sports stars.”
Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

“The fact that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh played such a significant role in the court’s decision is notable because it reflects a growing cross-political consensus that the NCAA’s treatment of athletes is deeply exploitative. Clarence Thomas, another justice hardly known for his sensitivity, noted in oral arguments that it was ‘odd that the coaches’ salaries have ballooned,’ despite the amateur nature of college athletics…

“This is not to say that imminent change is on the horizon. It has taken decades for the cause of student athletes to get this far, and the league has benefited greatly from both inertia and the way these exploitative arrangements have brought in substantial wealth—the better to bankroll a massive litigation and lobbying operation. But with lawmakers growing increasingly sympathetic to their pleas, the addition of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling has perhaps put us on the verge of compensating college athletes, something that should have happened a very long time ago.”
Alex Shephard, New Republic

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