Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Cases On Compensating College Athletes

By Bill Galluccio

December 16, 2020

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a pair of cases relating to NCAA limits on how much education-related benefits student-athletes can receive. The High Court said that the two cases, American Athletic Conference v. Alston, and National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston, will be combined and argued together next year. 

The lawsuits were filed by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston claiming that the NCAA's caps on education-related benefits violated antitrust laws. In May, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that struck down the benefit caps.

The NCAA appealed the ruling and asked for the Court to stay the decision until their appeal could be heard. In August, Justice Elena Kagan denied the NCAA's request.

The NCAA praised the Court's decision to take up the case.

"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, the NCAA's chief legal officer, said in a statement.

Jeffrey Kessler, the lead plaintiff's attorney, told ESPN'sDan Murphy that he was surprised that the Supreme Court took up the case but is hopeful that the Justices will rule in favor of an "even broader application of antitrust law."

The case will be heard in 2021, and the Court is expected to reach a decision by June. 

Photo: Getty Images

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