On June 21, 2021 the Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA in a landmark case regarding compensation for college athletes. In a unanimous decision, justices voted that student athletes could receive education-related payments in a case that could allow more money currently funneled to the college sports industry to go directly to the players. The opinion described how college sports are not paying their workers a fair market rate causing the student athletes to be exploited and barred from the opportunity to monetize their talents. The NCAA’s position is that spending caps were necessary to distinguish amateur from professional sports. Prior to the case, school athletes could receive tuition, fees, room, board, athletic participation awards, tutoring, and study abroad course expenses. There are several legislative acts currently in Congress to implement rules for student athlete compensation including the “Fairness in Collegiate Athletics Act,” “The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act”, and the “College Athletes Bill of Rights.” Proponents of the Court’s decision are pushing for the rights of student athletes be codified so that they receive the same rights and privileges as other workers.
If you are an academic institution employing student athletes and are wondering how this ruling impacts your program or if you are a student athlete wanting to understand your rights under the ruling, Leonard Sciolla can help you navigate this new environment.