NCAA defends scholarships for college athletes

Lawsuit challenges rules that support hundreds of thousands of students

 

Case Summary | NCAA and Amateurism | ALSton v. NCAA | O’Bannon v. NCAA

Case Summary

On March 31, the Supreme Court will hear a case about the NCAA’s authority to determine rules regarding benefits student-athletes can receive that are tied to academics.  The lawsuit, titled Alston v. NCAA, challenges the rules that seek to preserve the distinction between collegiate and professional sports and are essential to providing academic opportunities for nearly half a million college athletes each year.

Only Division I men’s and women’s basketball and FBS football are directly involved with this case, although a court ruling could impact other NCAA sports as well.

In the Alston case, plaintiffs (a group of men’s and women’s basketball and FBS football student-athletes) asked the Court to eliminate or replace current rules and order that schools should be allowed to pay athletes unlimited amounts for their athletic performance. In March 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California decided that college sports should be played by student-athletes, not by paid professionals. In doing so, the Court found that college sports’ popularity stems in part from the distinction between collegiate and professional sports. However, the Court also sought to retain the authority to micromanage NCAA rulemaking in connection with benefits tethered to academics, which is inconsistent with prior appellate and Supreme Court decisions that say such rules are better developed outside the courtroom.

The NCAA appealed the District Court’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The 9th Circuit affirmed the District Court’s decision in May 2020, and in October 2020, the NCAA appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In seeking Supreme Court review, the NCAA noted that the Court and several lower courts have long held that the NCAA can pass rules to preserve the amateur character of college sports. These rules protect the distinction between professional athletes, who are paid to play, and collegiate athletes who are not.

In December 2020, the Supreme Court – instead of letting the lower court ruling stand –granted the NCAA’s and conferences’ petitions to review the decision in Alston. The Supreme Court case does not focus on name, image and likeness payments and, in fact, the 9th Circuit decision said that the NCAA had the authority to write rules regulating benefits for student-athletes not related to academics.

In briefs filed with the Supreme Court, the NCAA and conferences  argued that the lower Court’s decision in Alston was flawed because:

  • The decision runs contrary to precedent that the NCAA should have ample latitude to govern college sports.
  • The lower court ruling essentially delegates rulemaking to a single federal judge in California and opens the NCAA up to endless litigation each time a rule change is made.
  • The decision to allow for financial payments for remaining academically eligible and unlimited paid internships offered as an inducement to attend a school are forms of pay-for-play.
  • Allowing these payments would turn student-athletes into professionals, ending a century-long, revered tradition of college sports as a part of higher education.

Importantly, the NCAA is not asking the Supreme Court to grant it antitrust immunity from rules that apply to the NCAA.

There are many individuals and organizations who support the NCAA’s position – including several States and a number of antitrust professors, academics, associations representing athletic bodies, and former student-athletes. To show their support, they have filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court. Below are excerpts from and links to those briefs.

Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of the NCAA:

National Federation of State High School Associations

“The NFHS is concerned that the Ninth Circuit’s decision, if affirmed, will not only transform college athletics, but will permanently change the character of high school sports as well. . .  In short, high school athletics might become less about developing positive character traits and skills, and more about training a small cadre of talented young athletes for brief careers in revenue-generating college sports.”

American Council on Education and Ten Other Higher Education Associations

“[C]olleges and universities at a basic level seek to help students learn about themselves and the world around them, develop the skills and knowledge they will need to be good citizens, navigate their careers, and contribute to our country’s democracy and economy. . .Participation on an athletic team is one of the many ways that students can develop as individuals, build strategic and analytical thinking, and develop leadership potential. And supporting athletic teams is one of the many ways that schools can build a sense of community—on campus and among alumni alike.”

Antitrust Law and Business School Professors

“In effect, the Ninth Circuit’s decision permits antitrust plaintiffs to commandeer the judiciary and use it to regulate and modify routine business conduct, so long as a plaintiff’s attorney or district judge can imagine a less restrictive version of the conduct.”

Professor Thomas B. Nachbar – UVA School of Law

“The use of a less restrictive alternatives test in antitrust analysis sets an increasingly impossible bar for antitrust defendants, effectively turns courts into antitrust regulators, chills innovation, and introduces additional opportunity for error.”

Antitrust Economists

“Less restrictive alternative analysis should not be a roving mandate for antitrust courts to impose limitations on product designs simply because the court or a private plaintiff can conjure up some alternative design that it thinks is “fairer” or more advantageous to a particular supplier or constituency or even one that the plaintiff or court believes is ‘better.’ Antitrust cases are not product focus groups.”

Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, N.D., S.C. and S.D.

“The injunction would put tremendous pressure on schools to dramatically increase their athletic spending, putting schools in a lose-lose situation. Schools might commit to fully offering the escalating financial benefits. But most athletic departments already run at a deficit, so that decision will force schools to either increase student fees or redirect funds from other university programs to athletics. Schools might also try to limit the injunction’s financial hit by cutting nonrevenue sports. . . The injunction will thus end athletic opportunities for thousands of students, in favor of the comparatively few athletes in revenue-generating sports. Or, as a third option, schools might decline to increase benefits at all.”

Former Student-Athletes

“As schools cut less popular sports to pay for the compensation arms race, so too will they cut the athletics scholarships that countless student-athletes (especially those from disadvantaged communities) depend on. Those few student-athletes on the receiving end of schools’ increased largess will likewise suffer educationally, as they will be forced to prioritize athletics at the expense of their academic experiences and integration into the broader campus community. . . [W]hile a few student-athletes may benefit from this compensation arms race, the vast majority will not.”

You can read more about Alston below

The NCAA and Amateurism

The NCAA helps make it possible for hundreds of thousands of students to get a college education, debt-free.

NCAA colleges and universities provide more than $3.6 billion in athletics scholarships each year, one of the highest sources of financial aid for college students in the United States. These scholarships not only open the door to opportunities but also mean that students do not have to take on the burden of large student loans.

The NCAA also financially supports student-athletes in multiple ways. From its annual revenue, generated primarily from television and marketing rights, the NCAA distributes funds in more than a dozen ways — almost all of which support nearly half a million student-athletes. Learn more about how the NCAA uses its funds to support student-athletes across the country.

 

In addition to financial scholarships, the NCAA provides resources and sets rules that help students succeed academically.

The NCAA continually is reviewing and revising its rules to better support student-athletes in the classroom.

Division I athletics programs can offer cost of attendance to the student-athletes playing the sports of basketball and football and other sports. In addition to tuition, fees, books, and room and board, these scholarships provide for expenses such as academic-related supplies, transportation, and other similar living expenses while pursuing a college education.

NCAA schools also provide access to tutoring, study labs, and career counseling services, helping to ensure student-athletes have ample academic and professional support. Learn more about how the NCAA is committed to improving the student-athlete experience.

In addition to the support provided by the NCAA and its members, the academic support provided to student-athletes has resulted in graduation rates that meet or exceed that of all other students.

Most importantly, student-athletes are often more attractive job candidates because they have demonstrated the ability to balance competing demands, work in a team environment and push themselves to excel.

 

While we are continually seeking to modernize our rules to better support student-athletes, eliminating the distinction between college and professional sports will be detrimental for most student-athletes.
  • Requiring payment based on athletics performance would benefit only a small number of student-athletes and produce unintended consequences that would undermine opportunities for others.
  • For many universities, the result could be fewer dollars for academics, fewer athletics-related scholarships and fewer nonrevenue sports. As a result, schools may:
    • Divert funds from their academic budgets to continue competing in the athletic arena.
    • Drop some or all their nonrevenue or unprofitable sports, such as wrestling, track and field, gymnastics, tennis, volleyball, or swimming and diving.
    • Lessen the number and amount of scholarships in order to make large cash payments to the most highly recruited athletes.
    • Recognize they could no longer compete with the highest-resourced schools, meaning the big sports schools would get even more dominant and the gap between them and other programs would widen, resulting in a smaller group of competitive programs.

 

The NCAA’s rules are designed to maintain the distinction between college athletes and professional athletes – and new rules related to name, image, and likeness will be written to preserve that distinction.
  • The commitment to NCAA student-athletes is to adjust athletically-related benefits as needs are identified , which it should be able to do without the threat of never-ending legal challenges created by Alston.
  • The NCAA is proactively seeking to allow student-athletes to seek compensation the same way a non-student-athlete can – and to continue to improve the student athlete experience.

Alston V. NCAA (Grant-In-Aid Cap Litigation)

In 2014, as the O’Bannon v. NCAA litigation was making its way through the appeals process, class-action litigation challenging the NCAA rules was consolidated before Judge Wilken in the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California.

This lawsuit, known as Alston v. NCAA, challenges rules adopted by the NCAA and athletics conferences that govern the kind of aid that can be provided to student-athletes.

District Court Proceedings

The NCAA sought to dismiss the case in September 2014. However, Judge Wilken — who also presided over O’Bannon — denied the motion, saying that the current case involves different student-athletes (not just male basketball and football players, but female basketball players), and seeks different remedies (not just injunctive relief, but damages, too) that were not addressed in O’Bannon.

Then, in the fall of 2017, both the NCAA and Alston plaintiffs submitted motions seeking summary judgment. The NCAA argued that the O’Bannon ruling precludes student-athletes from their claims against the NCAA, because the Courts of Appeals already had determined that the rules have procompetitive benefits and that any compensation could appropriately be limited to the cost of attendance. In March 2018, Judge Wilken decided to let the case proceed, writing that while the NCAA demonstrated procompetitive benefits of amateurism, the plaintiffs had put forth sufficient evidence related to less restrictive alternatives.

During the 11-day Alston bench trial, which began in September 2018 and concluded on December 18, 2018, the NCAA demonstrated that its rules promote the popularity of college sports and encourage the integration of student-athletes on campus. NCAA experts and college officials explained that the plaintiffs’ efforts to pay certain student-athletes would isolate them from campus life, pull resources from the rest of their universities, and fundamentally change college sports as we know it.

Important facts and evidence from the trial:

Economic experts testified that sports fans value NCAA rules promoting amateurism, which distinguish college sports from professional sports.

University leaders said that paying student-athletes would contradict the schools’ educational mission and could result in the elimination of academic programs or non-revenue sports.

Student-athletes acknowledged that the education they received has helped them throughout their lives.

College athletics officials outlined the important role of amateurism in distinguishing student-athletes from paid, professional players.

NCAA officials described how the NCAA and its member schools uphold the values of college athletics while providing student-athletes with assistance for expenses associated with being a college student.

NCAA officials testified to data that showed student-athletes graduated at rates higher than nonathletes — and at some of the highest rates ever — and that student-athletes have confirmed the positive impact of their schools’ integration efforts.

On March 8, 2019, Judge Wilken issued her decision and a permanent injunction in Alston. The court’s decision recognized that college sports should be played by student-athletes, not by paid professionals. The decision acknowledged that the popularity of college sports stems in part from the fact that these athletes are indeed students, who must not be paid unlimited cash sums unrelated to education. As the court stated:

“Defendants have sufficiently shown a procompetitive effect of some aspects of the challenged compensation scheme. They are the cost-of-attendance limit on the grant-in-aid, the limits on compensation and benefits unrelated to education, and the limits on cash or cash-equivalent education-related awards and incentives for academic achievement or graduation. The procompetitive effect of these caps is preventing unlimited, professional-level cash payments, unrelated to education, that could blur the distinction between college sports and professional sports and thereby negatively affect consumer demand for Division I basketball and FBS football.”
– Judge Claudia Wilken’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, In re: National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletic Grant-In-Aid Cap Antitrust Litigation, March 2019

However, in its decision, the District Court determined that there was a viable less restrictive alternative to the NCAA’s rules related to benefits and compensation. In her injunction, Judge Wilken stated:

“Defendant National Collegiate Athletic Association … including its member schools and conferences … are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from agreeing to fix or limit compensation or benefits related to education that may be made available from conferences or schools … on top of a grant-in-aid. … The compensation and benefits related to education … that the NCAA may not agree to fix or limit … are the following: computers, science equipment, musical instruments and other tangible items not included in the cost of attendance calculation but nonetheless related to the pursuit of academic studies; post-eligibility scholarships to complete undergraduate or graduate degrees at any school; scholarships to attend vocational school; tutoring; expenses related to studying abroad that are not included in the cost of attendance calculation; and paid post-eligibility internships.”
— Judge Claudia Wilken’s Permanent Injunction, In re: National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletic Grant-In-Aid Cap Antitrust Litigation, March 2019

Most of these benefits, in fact, were already permisslbe under NCAA rules. Further, Judge Wilken’s injunction also required the NCAA to allow “academic or graduation awards or incentives” to be paid to every student athlete, up to the maximum aggregate amount that could be achieved by an individual student athlete in athletic achievement awards – an amount Judge Wilken concluded to be approximately $5,600 per year per student (later raised to approximately $6,000 per year).

While the District Court did determine that the NCAA could define compensation and benefits that are “related to education” and regulate the provision of these benefits by conferences and schools, it also retained the authority to micromanage decisions about education-related support. The NCAA and conferences believe, and the Supreme Court has recognized, that NCAA member schools and conferences through its governance process are best positioned to strengthen and revise their rules to better support student-athletes, rather than forcing these issues into continuous litigation.

For this reason, among others, the NCAA and conference defendants decided to appeal the District Court’s decision in Alston to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Appellate Court Proceedings

The NCAA and conferences appealed the District Court’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

The 9th Circuit affirmed the District Court’s decision in May 2020, and in October 2020 the NCAA and conferences sought review by  the U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Proceedings

In December 2020, the Supreme Court granted the NCAA’s and conferences’ petition to review the lower court’s decision in Alston.

In seeking a review of the Alston decision, the NCAA – among other things – is asking the Supreme Court to reaffirm that the NCAA has ample latitude to govern college sports. The NCAA and its member schools are committed to defending the rules that govern college sports – the same rules that create an environment where hundreds of thousands of student-athletes can receive the life-long benefits of a college education and compete at the highest levels of their sport.

 

NCAA STATEMENTS RELATED TO ALSTON V. NCAA

Date Lawsuit Status NCAA Statement

March 3, 2021

Respondents’ file their brief before the Supreme Court.

“Respondents’ brief challenges an argument that the NCAA is not making, nor has ever made, namely that the NCAA seeks antitrust immunity. Indeed, the NCAA has always known that its rules are subject to antitrust review. But as Supreme Court precedent and other courts make clear, antitrust law allows the NCAA to shape rules to maintain a clear distinction between professional and collegiate sports.

While respondents agree that the NCAA has the authority to continue shaping rules regarding benefits unrelated to academics, they fail to sufficiently justify why a federal judge should be able to micromanage a critical aspect of college sports. The so-called education-related benefits as described by respondents can fairly be characterized as thinly-disguised pay for play. We look forward to filing our reply in the coming weeks.”

— Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal office

February 1, 2021

NCAA files its opening brief before the Supreme Court.

“Today, we asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reaffirm that the NCAA has ample latitude to govern college sports. As outlined in our brief, the lower court ruling distorts federal antitrust law and, in the process, wrongly redefines amateurism and undermines the NCAA’s supervision of college athletics. The ruling also encourages judicial micromanagement and invites never-ending litigation as the NCAA seeks to improve the college athletic experience. In short, the lower court ruling greatly blurs the line between college and professional sports.

The NCAA and its member schools are committed to defending the rules that govern college sports – the same rules that create an environment where hundreds of thousands of student-athletes can receive the life-long benefits of a college education and compete at the highest levels of their sport. We look forward to continuing to make our case before the Court.”

— Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer

December 16, 2020

Supreme Court granted the NCAA’s petition to review the decision on Alston from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

“We are pleased the U.S. Supreme Court will review the NCAA’s right to provide student-athletes with the educational benefits they need to succeed in school and beyond. The NCAA and its members continue to believe that college campuses should be able to improve the student-athlete experience without facing never-ending litigation regarding these changes.

— Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer

October 15, 2020

NCAA petitions Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision Alston.

“Today, the NCAA asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review of the Alston/Grant-in-Aid case. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is applying antitrust laws to NCAA student-athlete rules inconsistently with other federal circuits and indeed the Supreme Court itself. The ruling blurs the line between student-athletes and professionals, conflicts with prior appellate court decisions, appoints a single court to micromanage collegiate sports, and encourages never-ending litigation following every rule change. The decision extends beyond the NCAA’s ability to govern college sports throughout the country, affecting how other joint ventures operate. It is critical for the Supreme Court to address the consequential legal errors in this case so that college sports can be governed, not by the courts, but by those who interact with and lead students every day. Together with our conferences that were individually sued in this matter, we will continue to defend the line between professional sports and college sports.”

— Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer

May 18, 2020

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issues its decision.

“We hoped for a different legal conclusion by the Ninth Circuit. We argued and believe the lower court’s ruling is inconsistent with both Supreme Court precedent and the Ninth Circuit’s own decision in the O’Bannon case. We will continue to review the opinion and determine our next steps.”

— Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer

April 10, 2019

NCAA files motion to dismiss the Jenkins lawsuit

“Yesterday we asked the court to finally dismiss the Jenkins suit because the claims there are identical to those just decided in the Alston case. In fact, the plaintiffs in Jenkins make up the very group of student-athletes who were involved in the Alston case.”

— NCAA

March 23, 2019

NCAA files a notice of appeal, stating that it will appeal Judge Wilken’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

“The NCAA’s longstanding commitment, supported by its schools and conferences, is to provide student-athletes with the educational benefits they need to succeed in school and beyond. While the District Court upheld the distinction between full-time students who play college sports and professional athletes, it erred by giving itself authority to micromanage decisions about education-related support. We believe, and the Supreme Court has recognized, that NCAA member schools and conferences are best positioned to strengthen and revise their rules to better support student-athletes, rather than forcing these issues into continuous litigation. The NCAA and conference defendants unanimously agree to appeal the District Court’s decision.”

— Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer

March 8, 2019

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issues her decision and a permanent injunction.

“The court’s decision recognizes that college sports should be played by student-athletes, not by paid professionals. The decision acknowledges that the popularity of college sports stems in part from the fact that these athletes are indeed students, who must not be paid unlimited cash sums unrelated to education. NCAA rules actively provide a pathway for tens of thousands of student-athletes each year to receive a college education debt-free. Although the court rejected the plaintiffs’ desire for a free-market system, we will explore our next steps as appropriate. We believe the ruling is inconsistent with the decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in O’Bannon. That decision held that the rules governing college athletics would be better developed outside the courtroom, including rules around the education-related support that schools provide.”

— Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer

December 18, 2018

Trial concludes.

“Once again, we demonstrated that our rules provide a pathway for tens of thousands of student-athletes to receive a college education debt-free. Replacing those students with paid professionals will fundamentally change the face of college sports, de-emphasize academics and reduce future opportunities for aspiring college-goers. Witness after witness testified that a college education and the experience it provides is an invaluable opportunity that pays dividends throughout one’s lifetime — not just on the field of play. Indeed, the support provided by the NCAA and its members to student-athletes has resulted in more Division I student-athletes earning their degrees than ever before — achieving academic and career success at record levels. We will continue to provide opportunities for student-athletes to earn their degrees and compete at the highest levels of their sports in the years to come.”

— Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer

O’Bannon v. NCAA

In 2009, Ed O’Bannon, a former UCLA basketball student-athlete, sued the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Co., challenging rules that prevented student-athletes from being compensated for the use of their name, image and likeness. Among other things, O’Bannon claimed the rules violated antitrust law.

After years of procedural developments, O’Bannon’s antitrust claims were tried before Judge Claudia Wilken in the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, in June 2014.

 

 

District Court Proceedings

After a bench trial, Judge Wilken found there were two procompetitive justifications for rules that place restraints on student-athlete compensation: The rules help to integrate athletics and academics, and the rules play a role in preserving the popularity of the NCAA’s product.

However, the court then held that the procompetitive characteristics of the rules could be achieved by allowing revenue from players’ likenesses to be collected, held in a trust, and distributed equally and based on licensing, not athletic performance; compensation would be capped at $5,000 for every year of eligibility. Student-athletes, however, could not receive money for endorsements of commercial products, as it would undermine the efforts of both the NCAA and its member schools to protect against the “commercial exploitation” of student-athletes. – Judge Claudia Wilken’s Ruling, O’Bannon v. NCAA, August 2014

 

Appellate Court Proceedings

Following the district court ruling, both the NCAA and the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In September 2015, the appeals court struck down the compensation component of the lower court decision, ruling that federal antitrust law does not require compensating student-athletes beyond the full cost of attending college.

The Appellate Court supported the district court’s finding that the NCAA’s rules served the procompetitive purposes of integrating academics with athletics and preserving the popularity of the NCAA’s product by promoting its current understanding of amateurism. The decision said:

“Both we and the district court agree that the NCAA’s amateurism rule has procompetitive benefits. But in finding that paying students cash compensation would promote amateurism as effectively as not paying them, the district court ignored that not paying student-athletes is precisely what makes them amateurs.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling, O’Bannon v. NCAA, September 2015

As such, the appellate court rejected the portion of the district court ruling that would have allowed student-athletes to be paid up to $5,000 per year of eligibility for use of their name, image and likeness in annual deferred cash compensation. The appellate court further noted:

“The difference between offering student-athletes education-related compensation and offering them cash sums untethered to educational expenses is not minor; it is a quantum leap.
 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling, O’Bannon v. NCAA, September 2015

“In light of that, the meager evidence in the record, and the Supreme Court’s admonition that we must afford the NCAA ‘ample latitude’ to superintend college athletics, Bd. of Regents, 468 U.S. at 120, we think it is clear the district court erred in concluding that small payments in deferred compensation are a substantially less restrictive alternative restraint.”
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling, O’Bannon v. NCAA, September 2015

“Today, we reaffirm that NCAA regulations are subject to antitrust scrutiny and must be tested in the crucible of the Rule of Reason … The Rule of Reason requires that the NCAA permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student-athletes. It does not require more.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling, O’Bannon v. NCAA, September 2015

 

The Supreme Court Proceedings

In October 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied requests by both the plaintiffs and the NCAA to review the 9th Circuit Court’s decision.

 

Grant-In-Aid Cap Litigation

In 2014, as the O'Bannon v. NCAAlitigation was making its way through the appeals process, class-action litigation challenging the NCAA rules was consolidated before Judge Wilken in the U.S. District Court Oakland, California.

This lawsuit challenged rules adopted by the NCAA and athletics conferences that govern the kind of aid that can be provided to student-athletes.

The NCAA sought to dismiss the case in September 2014. However, Judge Wilken — who also presided over the O’Bannoncase— denied the motion, saying that the current case involves different student-athletes (not just male basketball and football players, but female basketball players), and seeks different remedies (not just injunctive relief, but damages, too) that were not addressed in O’Bannon.

Then, in the fall of 2017, both the NCAA and plaintiffs submitted motions seeking summary judgment. The NCAA argued that the O’Bannonruling precludes student-athletes from their claims against the NCAA, because the Court of Appeals already had determined that the rules have procompetitive benefits and that any compensation could appropriately be limited to the cost of attendance. In March 2018, Judge Wilken decided to let the case proceed, writing that while the NCAA demonstrated procompetitive benefits of amateurism, the plaintiffs have put forth sufficient evidence related to less restrictive alternatives. As the court stated:

Defendants have presented sufficient evidence in support of the two procompetitive effects found in O’Bannon to create a factual issue for trial. This includes a survey of consumer preferences, which led Defendants’ expert Dr. Bruce Isaacson to conclude that fans are drawn to college football and basketball in part due to their perception of amateurism.

Defendants also present evidence that paying student-athletes would detract from the integration of academics and athletics in the campus community. For example, Professor James T. Heckman testified that paying student-athletes would likely lead them to dedicate even more effort and possibly more time to their sports, potentially diverting them ‘away from actually being students and towards just being athletes.’”
Judge Claudia Wilken’s Order Granting in Part And Denying in Part Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment, In re: National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletic Grant-In-Aid Cap Antitrust Litigation, March 2018

 

Page Last Updated: March 29, 2021