In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court on Monday (21) unanimously ruled that the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) cannot deter athletes/students from earning income with their name and image to be considered “amateur”. In other words, athletes/students are entitled to receive funds for sports activities. The decision changes college sports in the United States and could have consequences for the sports world.
The matter does not decide whether these students can get salary or not. However, it will help to determine which schools provide athletes with educational benefits such as financial compensation in tuition, study abroad programs and graduate scholarships.
The court found that the NCAA was trying to pull around education-related benefits that universities can provide to Division I athletes that could not be enforced for violating antitrust law.
The Supreme Court put the brakes on autonomy, saying its power was not absolute and unquestionable. In other words, sports entities have the autonomy to manage the functioning and organization of sports, provided that such organization and functioning is not contrary to law.
Speaking to Vladimir Camargos, Professor of Constitutional Law and Law in the Field columnist, he also reinforced the weight of the decision: “The US Supreme Court is ready to push the boundaries of amateurism. This should have both implications on labor law as such. The uniqueness of the game, the similarity of weapons.”
The case could become a milestone not only in American college sports, but also around the world, as was the case with Boseman. In the 1990s, a Belgian football player, imprisoned for a club without a contract, went to court to be freed from his bondage and continue working. He won After that decision, football had to adapt and ended up with a “pass”.
Under current NCAA rules, students cannot be paid, and the scholarships colleges can offer are limited to the cost of attending school. The NCAA defended its rules to preserve the amateur nature of college sports.
However, the former athletes who initiated the case claimed that the NCAA’s rules on education-related compensation were unfair and violated federal antitrust laws designed to promote competition. The Supreme Court then decided to uphold the lower court’s decision to restrain the association from enforcing those rules.
“We hope this victory in the fight for collegiate athletes’ rights will continue the wave of justice, enhancing other aspects of athlete compensation,” Steve Berman, attorney for former collegiate athletes, said in a statement to AP News.
Importantly, the NFL, NBA and WNBA player associations advised judges to sided with former athletes in the case.
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