How NCAA Supreme Court Decision May Open Door for Paid Athletes | Notice
The NCAA has sought redress from the United States Supreme Court in yet another attempt to keep varsity tracked down. Big mistake. On Monday, the Court returned with a 9-0 decision against the organization, accompanied by dazzling legal opinions. It was a bigger rout than the last Super Bowl. The NCAA bullies didn’t just lose this case – the ruling could potentially have more far-reaching effects.
The NCAA appealed the lower court ruling that would have lifted restrictions on providing college athletes with educational benefits, such as internships and laptops, which the NCAA considered a violation of their old crisp notion of “amateurism”. The decision did not seek to overturn far beyond those costs, and the NCAA could have given up much of its grip on financial compensations, but the NCAA went greedy and went bankrupt taking it to the High Court. .
Not only did the varsity track supervisor lose that argument, Monday’s decision laid the groundwork for the NCAA to lose much more of its powers. The NCAA could see its entire business model collapse. It will cost much more than laptops.
As a lawyer said on “The Rich Eisen Show,” at least the NCAA had moved away from the lower courts with the equivalent of a field goal while retaining some of its powers. Instead, the NCAA chose to take points off the board by appealing to the Supreme Court and walked away with nothing; meanwhile, the other team scored a touchdown.
“The NCAA has long limited the allowances and benefits that student-athletes can receive,” Judge Kavanaugh wrote in his concurring opinion. “And with surprising success, the NCAA has long protected its compensation rules from ordinary antitrust reviews. Today, however, the court finds that the NCAA violated antitrust laws. The Court’s decision marks a significant and belated course correction, and I fully agree with the excellent opinion of the Court.
Kavanaugh continued in this vein for several paragraphs. Translation: The NCAA is not a separate country capable of making its own laws, and athletes should be able to participate in the free and open market like other Americans. If this does not happen immediately, the court’s decision and opinions seem to open the door for further changes in the future.
The wonder of it all is that the NCAA business model has lasted this long, beating challenge after challenge for decades.
The NCAA deserves any harsh treatment it receives; the organization imposed itself with its greed and tyranny. The NCAA decided they even owned an athlete’s image (their photo or likeness) in perpetuity – only the NCAA could make money out of it, not the athlete. Ed O’Bannon had to go to court about it. With a straight face, while raising billions of dollars for itself as well as for schools, sponsors, radio and television stations, and coaches, the NCAA has insisted for decades that a coach couldn’t buy as much as a pizza for a kid.
Remember Nathan Harris, who lost a year of eligibility because he played in three church basketball games. Remember Steve Rhodes, the former Marine who was ruled ineligible for two years and forced to take a mandatory red shirt year because he played in a recreational football league on a military base. Remember BYU runner Jared Ward, who was denied one year of eligibility because he once competed in a recreational road race against joggers and people wearing bird costumes. And let’s not forget the unidentified golfer from a West Coast Conference school who was struck down with an NCAA infraction for washing her car on campus – because the water and the hose weren’t available to ordinary students. She had to pay $ 20 to college.
The NCAA turned the tide on those first three cases when the media brought them to light; suddenly, their ethics weren’t so important when the public heard about it.
On the one hand, NCAA officials preach the beauty of amateurism; on the other hand, they are negotiating a televised deal for the NCAA basketball tournament that would bring in $ 1 billion a year.
Kavanaugh has launched a scathing attack on the NCAA, which will surely embolden others to adopt more of the NCAA amateurism rules that go beyond what Monday’s decision provided for.
“… the remaining NCAA compensation rules also raise serious questions under antitrust laws,” Kavanaugh wrote, which should get NCAA tycoons’ fingernails biting. The worst may be yet to come.
“The NCAA is making its case for not paying student athletes under harmless labels,” Kavanaugh continued. “But the labels can’t hide the reality: the NCAA business model would be downright illegal in almost every other industry in America. Not all restaurants in a region can unite to reduce cook wages based on the theory that “customers prefer” to eat food from poorly paid cooks.
“Law firms cannot conspire for cabin attorney salaries in the name of providing legal services out of ‘love of the law’. Hospitals cannot agree to cap nurses’ income in order to create a “purer” form of patient care. News organizations cannot join forces to reduce journalists’ salaries in order to preserve a “tradition” of public-minded journalism. The film studios cannot agree to reduce the advantages of film crews in order to ignite a “spirit of amateurism” in Hollywood. “
He attacked what he called the NCAA’s “workforce pricing” practices, calling them a “manual antitrust problem.”
“The bottom line is that the NCAA and its member colleges are cutting the salaries of the student-athletes who collectively generate billions of dollars in college revenue each year. These huge sums of money apparently go to everyone except student athletes. College presidents, athletic directors, coaches, conference commissioners, and NCAA officers earn six- and seven-figure salaries. Colleges are building lavish new facilities. But the income-generating student-athletes, many of whom are African American and from low-income backgrounds, end up with little or nothing. “
Turning his attack on the NCAA membership to “amateurism,” Kavanaugh wrote: “These traditions alone cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive fundraising business on the backs of college students. -athletes who are not fairly remunerated. Nowhere else in America can companies agree to not paying their workers at the fair market rate on the premise that their product is defined as not paying their workers at the fair market rate. And under ordinary antitrust law principles, it’s not clear why college sport should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.
Decades ago no one made any money in college sport, but with the advent of TV deals billions of dollars were generated and universities turned into professional sports businesses. Everything has changed in their sporting model, except the role in which athletes play for nothing but education. Monday’s decision could change all that.
Doug Robinson is a columnist for the Deseret News.