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Court Rules NCAA Can’t Limit Education-Related Benefits

 |  May 18, 2020

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday unanimously upheld a federal judge’s 2019 ruling that the NCAA cannot limit education-related expenses for college athletes, reported the Wall Street Journal. 

“NCAA limits on education-related benefits do not play by the Sherman Act’s rules,” the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling Monday, May18.

US District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in March 2019 that such limits violated antitrust law. Wilken ruled that athletes in Division I men’s and women’s basketball and the Football Bowl Subdivision should be permitted to receive compensation beyond the cost of a scholarship, including money to pursue postgraduate degrees and for school supplies such as computers.

The NCAA appealed Wilken’s decision, but the three-judge appeals court panel determined that she had “struck the right balance in crafting a remedy that both prevents” antitrust harm to the athletes while “preserving the popularity of college sports,” per USA Today.

The NCAA argued that if athletes received the additional expenses, fans would view college athletes as the same as professional athletes and would thus be less interested in college sports.

Any immediate impact of the ruling may be short-lived because the NCAA, facing pressures from states, Congress and athletes, has committed to making broader changes to rules on athlete compensation starting in 2021, allowing players to sign endorsement deals for the first time.