“Change is slow, always has been, always will be” – J. Cole
Those words ring loudly when it comes to the NCAA and fairly compensating the very athletes it makes billions of off each year.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the NCAA rules that limit educational benefits for athletes are not reasonably necessary to distinguish between college and professional sports.
What that means
The athletes maintained that the NCAA has, in effect, been operating a system that is a classic restraint of competition — in short, a system that violates the nation’s antitrust laws. The NCAA countered that its rules are largely exempt from the antitrust laws because they are aimed at preserving amateurism in college sports and because the rules “widen choices for consumers by distinguishing college sports from professional sports.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, told ESPN “It’s tremendous to win this 9-0. Hopefully it will be the major next step on the road to a true fair competitive system for these athletes. It should have positive effects immediately on NIL [names, images and likenesses]. We look forward to a world that’s better for college athletes today than it was yesterday.”
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.
NCAA Basketball and Football overwhelmingly made up of Black athletes
The NCAA “seeks immunity from the normal operation of antitrust laws,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the court. The court declined that request because “this suit involves admitted horizontal price fixing in a market where the defendants exercise monopoly control.”
According to the NCAA database, in 2020 40% of rosters in the NCAA’s two biggest sports, football and basketball, were made up of Black athletes. Only 13% of the U.S. population is Black, so to have this ruling come down for an organization that is overrepresented by Black people is a big win in the social climate of the country.