Supreme Court will hear case on NCAA athletes’ compensation limits


Mississippi Rebels and Xavier Musketeers players run by the logo at mid-court during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on March 19, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Supreme Court will be weighing in on collegiate athletics. The nation’s high court announced Wednesday it will decide if the NCAA violated antitrust laws by limiting player compensation, which was the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in May.

The NCAA is taking its appeal to the nation’s top court and San Diego-based sports attorney Alex Ozols said that could mean a nationwide change to compensation for student-athletes.

“Paid internships, musical instruments, attendance scholarships stuff like that,” he explained.

The NCAA has long faced criticism for not allowing athletes to accept compensation in addition to a free education, while many school athletic programs bring in millions of dollars in revenue.

“Basically the biggest thing was likeness of these people, if they’re in a commercial a video game they need to be paid for their likeness,” Ozols said.

Historian and Arizona State University professor Victoria Jackson is a former college athlete. She’s in favor of athlete compensation and said it’s important to look at the racial dynamics at play.

“The money’s brought in by football players predominantly and also basketball players,” Jackson said. “If you look to athletes in the nonrevenue sports, they’re disproportionately white. If you look to the athletes in the revenue-generating sports they’re disproportionately Black.”

The NCAA did not make a spokesperson available to NewsNation, but did issue a statement:

“We are pleased the U.S. Supreme Court will review the NCAA’s right to provide student-athletes with the educational benefits they need to succeed in school and beyond. The NCAA and its members continue to believe that college campuses should be able to improve the student-athlete experience without facing never-ending litigation regarding these changes.”

NCAA Statement

At least 25 states have considered legislation allowing athletes to profit from their likeness, which could be impacted by the Supreme Court’s ruling next year.

“For a lot of these people, this would encourage them to stay in school, the full term and not even think about the NBA,” Ozols said.

The Supreme Court is set to hear the arguments this spring and the justices will issue a decision before the term ends in the summer.

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