On Wednesday, September 30th, the 9th circuit court of appeals released a ruling on the status of student athletes in the NCAA. This was part of an ongoing legal struggle between the NCAA and organizations created to advocate for the rights of student athletes. So what exactly were the details of the case, and what was the ruling handed down?
The Issues at Hand
The NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletics Association, is a governing body which regulates and organizes college athletics. College athletics are massively popular in the United States. Billions of dollars are generate every year by colleges and the NCAA off of ticket sales and television contracts. As it currently stands, none of this money is passed on to student athletes; many are however compensated with athletic scholarships. Specifically, the current legal battle focuses on gaining student athletes the ability to be financially compensated for the use of their names, images, and likenesses.
Judge Jay Babee presided over the ruling which was passed down on September 30. The decision confirmed that NCAA regulations are subject to antitrust scrutiny. So what exactly is antitrust scrutiny? Antitrust laws regulate the conduct of organizations and business in order to promote fair competition and equitable work practices. Previously, the NCAA had sought to protect itself from antitrust scrutiny by trumpeting the so called “amateur” status of its athletes. It used a case know as NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, as the backbone of its defense. The Ninth Circuit Court applied a rule of reason test to the previously applied Board of Regents ruling, and found it lacking. The end result of the rule is that the NCAA will be subject to the Sherman Antitrust Act. It is widely believed that the NCAA will appeal this decision, and that the case will eventually make its way in front of the United States Supreme Court.