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Supreme Court Sides With College Athletes on Benefits

Ruling could make it easier for them to be compensated for non-tuition expenses
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 21, 2021 10:10 AM CDT
Supreme Court Sides With College Athletes on Benefits
The Supreme Court in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, FIle)

In a ruling that could push changes in college athletics, the Supreme Court on Monday unanimously sided with a group of former college athletes 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, per the AP. Under current NCAA rules, students can't 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 were unfair and violate federal antitrust law designed to promote competition.

"The NCAA's business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America," wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a concurring opinion, per NPR. He accused the athletic organization of "price fixing." 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. CBS News notes lawmakers across the US are wrestling with a separate question—whether athletes can be paid for use of their name, image, and likeness by schools.

(More NCAA stories.)

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