The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to review a court decision that the NCAA says blurs "the line between student-athletes and professionals" by removing caps on education-related money that certain football and basketball players can receive. The high court's action comes after a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in May upheld a lower court ruling barring the NCAA from capping education-related compensation and benefits for student-athletes in Division I football and basketball programs. Division I conferences can still independently set their own rules, per the AP. In August, Justice Elena Kagan had denied the NCAA's request to put lower court rulings in favor of the student-athletes on hold at least temporarily while the NCAA formally petitioned the Supreme Court to take up the case.
The NCAA had said the ruling "effectively created a pay-for-play system for all student-athletes, allowing them to be paid both 'unlimited' amounts for participating in 'internships'" and an additional $5,600 or more each year they remain eligible to play their sport. The NCAA is in the process of changing its rules to permit athletes to be compensated for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. That should open opportunities for athletes to be paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals, for appearances, and for promoting products or events on social media accounts. The case, brought by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston and others, will be argued in 2021, with a decision expected before the end of June.
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