Supreme Court Rules NCAA Cannot Ban Education-Related Compensation for Student Athletes

Headline Roundup June 21st, 2021

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld a district court ruling that the NCAA’s restrictions on education-related benefits for college athletes violated antitrust law. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the unanimous decision, argued that while the “national debate” around student athlete compensation was “important,” the Supreme Court’s only job in this case was to determine whether the lower court had properly applied the law. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote a more forceful concurring opinion, stating that “The NCAA's business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.”

Coverage was mostly balanced on all sides, with many headlines saying the Supreme Court “sided” with athletes against the NCAA. 

From the Left

The Supreme Court sided unanimously with college athletes on Monday, ruling the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s restrictions on education benefits for players violate the nation’s antitrust laws.

The 9-0 decision represents a landmark victory for college players and a significant moment in the history of college athletics, as lawmakers in Congress and statehouses weigh new laws to allow athletes to profit from personal endorsements and sponsorships.

The ruling is likely to allow colleges to offer topflight football and basketball players pricey enticements related to their education — such as thousands of...

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From the Center

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a major shift in the relationship between universities and the athletes who play sports for those schools. In an opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the justices unanimously affirmed a lower-court decision holding that the NCAA, the umbrella group that regulates college sports, cannot restrict benefits related to education, such as free laptops or paid post-graduate internships.

Monday’s decision in NCAA v. Alston ended a dispute that began seven years ago as a class action filed against the NCAA and the major athletic conferences by the athletes who...

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From the Right

The Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision Monday that the NCAA has illegally restricted education-based benefits that could be used as compensation to student athletes.

The case was brought by current and former student athletes who played college football, as well as men's and women's college basketball. They sued the NCAA and 11 conferences, claiming that the rules restricting compensation violated antitrust laws. A lower court ruling maintained the NCAA's rules of generally forbidding payment to student athletes, while allowing for education-related aid. The students accepted this, but the NCAA fought it, eventually...

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