“It would be easy for schools to label these internships as ‘education related’ even if a star athlete received, say, a six month ‘internship’ at a sneaker company or a paid car dealership. $ 500,000, ”he wrote in Dit February. “But fans, student-athletes and everyone else would recognize the reality: that student-athletes were being paid large sums of money for their athletic play – with ‘internships’ a thinly disguised means of essentially channeling salaries to them. professionals.
The Supreme Court last examined how antitrust laws applied to the association in 1984, declaring its restrictions on television coverage of college football games to be illegal. But the decision, National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, included a passage influencing student-athletes.
“The NCAA plays a vital role in maintaining a revered tradition of amateurism in college sports,” Majority Judge John Paul Stevens wrote. “There is no doubt that a great deal of latitude is needed to play this role, or that the preservation of the student-athlete in higher education adds richness and diversity to intercollegiate athletics and is very important. complies with the objectives of “antitrust laws”.
The Biden administration filed a brief supporting the athletes in the new case, National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston, No. 20-512, claiming the Ninth Circuit struck the right balance.
“The promotion of amateurism widens consumer choice and thus improves competition, maintaining a distinction between varsity and professional athletics,” said the brief. But “some of the contested rules have not really boosted consumer demand.”
Other than the coronavirus pandemic, no matter has recently demanded more NCAA attention than the rights of student-athletes, especially whether they should be able to enjoy their fame. College sports leaders have long feared that relaxing the age-old rules would effectively professionalize students and open up a different spectrum of challenges, but they have faced increasing pressure in recent years from Congress and many states. from the country. More importantly, a Florida law that directly challenges NCAA policies is expected to come into effect this summer, and California lawmakers are considering a proposal to expedite a similar measure there.
Although the NCAA has promised to rewrite its rules, it delayed final approval over the winter after the Trump administration’s Justice Department raised doubts. And Congress has not rushed to give the association the kind of political and legal cover it needs.