Average Joe SCOTUS: National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston

OK, folks. This is the one everyone is talking about. Back in 1984, the Supreme Court in NVAA v. Regents of the University of Oklahoma struck down a TV deal the NCAA had, arguing it was a monopoly. Within that ruling, according to SCOTUSBlog, they stated that “NCAA rules that are reasonably related to preserving amateurism in college sports” promote competition and should be “upheld against antitrust challenge”

So the NCAA allows students to be paid via scholorships, and other modest rewards, but they may not get an actual paycheck, cash, expensive gifts, etc.

However, the players, who are often offered money, and by rule aren’t allowed to take it, filed suit, in which they said, “Fuck that!” Specifically, they argued they’re being denied fair-market compensation, which is, in their view, also an antitrust situation.

The NCAA of course, argues this will destroy competition, as the richer schools will end up destroying the lesser schools by offering the best athletes more money to come to their school. Without a salary cap and a draft such as what exists in the NFL, it’s probably a fair point.

The NCAA also colorfully argues that the NCAA (are you sitting down) isn’t a commercial venture at all, but instead, merely an association designed to promote sports as a means of bettering education for many who may not otherwise get the chance to go to college. I’m curious how they can say this with a straight face, since they generate a billion in revenue.

They support this by saying, “Look at the way we require schools to have specific sports, many of them they don’t even fucking want, and cost them way more money than they generate in revenue.” We here at Logical Libertarian give them the creative writing award for this.

The athletes of course, write a billion dollars on a piece of paper and were like, “Not a commercial venture, huh? That’s what they make. You know anyone who makes a billion dollars that isn’t a commercial venture?” *mic drop*

In arguments for the NCAA counsel Waxman was asked by Justice Thomas whether there was a limit to coaches income, since they’re also technically in “amateur” sports. But Counsel Waxman advised that there had been a separate 10th circuit case, Law v. NCAA, which ruled that coaches are professionals, like professors and shit, and not amateur student athletes, and therefore, their salaries may not be limited without having anti-trust issues.

In a brief moment of levity, when counsel Waxman responded to Justice Thomas, he said, “Well, Mr. Chief Justice…” to which Clarence Thomas replied, “Thank you for the promotion, by the way.” As they were laughing about the mistake, counsel Waxman decided to brown nose a bit, and state he was sure Justice Thomas would be quite good at that. But not to be excluded from the party, the actual Chief Justice John Roberts chimed in, “There’s no opening, Mr. Waxman.”

In the decision heard ’round the country, SCOTUS unanimously sided with Alston (the student athletes). These restrictions do violate anti-trust laws, and therefore must be struck down. So these students are about to get paid, and I suppose time will tell if it ruins colleges, collegiate sports, and all the other grand claims made by the opposition. Grab a beer and enjoy the show.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.


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