The Supreme Court is finally hearing the case that has been a battle for college athletes for more than three decades.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced that it would review an antitrust lawsuit in which the NCAA limits the compensation college athletes can receive while maintaining their eligibility. The NCAA claims that by removing these caps on compensation, the line between student-athletes and professionals would forever be blurred.
The case won’t be heard until early 2021, but a decision is expected to be rendered by June. The biggest question facing the Court is this: are college athletes students or employees?
While many have argued that athletes receiving a free education should be enough, the commercialization of college sports and the growth of the NCAA have made athletes feel they aren’t being fairly compensated for their contributions.
We’ve seen this recently as college football and basketball players are on campus and playing in games, meanwhile, other students are taking classes virtually from their couches and beds at home. The difference between the two? Money.
And if the NCAA and colleges and universities across the country are okay with their student-athletes being potentially exposed to COVID-19 but not the regular students, then I think that gives the Supreme Court their answer. These kids aren’t normal students and their contributions to their respective universities far outweigh the educational benefits that they receive.
It is true that the NCAA is likely to change their name, image and likeness rules as soon as January, but many states have already begun passing their own laws, which clearly supersede the NCAA rules, and now many are urging Congress for their input.
The Supreme Court refuses to sit idly and will now give their opinion on the matter—an opinion that could forever change the landscape of college athletics.
This could be the beginning of the end for the NCAA. A corrupt business enterprise that has monopolized the amateur sports industry carries itself as a private institution that is above the law. A decision in its favor would only uphold the sentiment that the NCAA is free to control the ability of young student-athletes to enter the free market like every other citizen in these United States.
A decision in the favor of student-athletes surely would make college sports look different, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sometimes, change is good.