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Tipsheet

Supreme Court Sides With College Athletes in NCAA Dispute

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and with college athletes in a decision released on Monday morning. The court’s decision allows college athletes to receive education-related payments and benefits, invalidating the NCAA’s “amateurism” statute.

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Justice Kavanaugh also had harsh words for the NCAA’s resistance to pay student athletes.

“The NCAA has long restricted the compensation and benefits that student athletes may receive. And with surprising success, the NCAA has long shielded its compensation rules from ordinary antitrust scrutiny,” Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion. “In my view, that argument is circular and unpersuasive. The NCAA couches its arguments for not paying student athletes in innocuous labels. But the labels cannot disguise the reality: The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America. All of the restaurants in a region cannot come together to cut cooks’ wages on the theory that 'customers prefer' to eat food from low-paid cooks. Law firms cannot conspire to cabin lawyers’ salaries in the name of providing legal services out of a 'love of the law.' Hospitals cannot agree to cap nurses’ income in order to create a “purer” form of helping the sick. News organizations cannot join forces to curtail pay to reporters to preserve a “tradition” of public-minded journalism. Movie studios cannot collude to slash benefits to camera crews to kindle a 'spirit of amateurism' in Hollywood.”

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The court's decision maintains that the NCAA is not above the law.

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