NCAA amateurism is dead. Whatever you think, the moving target that was the “college model” is gone. The date for the loved ones will be set for June 21, 2021, but in reality the exit from this world had been in the works for years.
It’s not just that amateurism is dead. The NCAA that strangled him may not be far behind.
No rational human could recognize the association’s position as amateurish or fair. Not with athletes working an average of 50 hours per week on their “job” (according to a recent Pac-12 study). Not with the NCAA having to pass a law to ensure that practices don’t take place after midnight or before 6 a.m. It meant that a coach somewhere was actually training in that window.
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court could no longer ignore the abuses.
In a relatively minor legal challenge, he upheld a lower court ruling that will allow athletes to receive education-related items such as laptops, paid internships and postgraduate opportunities.
The NCAA was concerned about the benefits of recruiting. The Supreme Court was concerned about fairness, violations of the country’s 131-year-old antitrust law and the power of the NCAA that had become intolerable.
“The NCAA is not above the law,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion following the 9-0 unanimous vote.
Someone had to say it.
The truth is, there are no minor legal conflicts with the NCAA. He exists to be sued these days. He chose to go to the Supreme Court for laptops because he can, because powerful people like to stay in power. Regardless of the consequences.
On Monday, the NCAA was slapped in perhaps its biggest legal loss. Consider the implications: The association did not prevail in the NCAA v. Alston appealed despite a conservative-majority tribunal that included three conservative judges appointed by the previous administration. In fact, the NCAA didn’t get a single judge to side with it. The whitewash 9-0 in favor of Alston was pro-gamer, pro-work, and probably late.
This was not predicted by any legal expert analyzing the case. To put it in terms of betting, who would have taken Shawne Alston with the nine (judges)?
On Monday, the NCAA was certainly marginalized. It’s now a bit of a spectator as the story goes by.
There are only a handful of things the NCAA still controls, namely eligibility and application. And you will find many complaints from members regarding these topics. There’s arguably only one thing he’s still doing well – throwing one hell of a party every March known as the NCAA Tournament.
Everything else was laid bare by Monday’s decision.
There is no more amateurism because… what was it, anyway? The cost of participation was passed on to the athletes, not the normal students. Bowl giveaways (capped at $ 550) are basically paid for playing. We’re discussing the semantics and whether five digits can become six digits in the age of name, image, and likeness.
Now there are few barriers to what athletes can win. Without Congressional help in NIL, anything the NCAA puts into its legislation will be subject to the same antitrust challenges as Alston v. NCAA.
There’s no sign that help is coming anytime soon, which speaks to the NCAA’s poor planning as much as its desperation.
As you might expect, NIL has become politicized in Congress just like any other bill. While this is great for the college athlete’s fair market income, it is dangerous for the NCAA and the members who allowed it to happen, starting with another WTF ?! extension for President Mark Emmert.
If this was the real world, the NCAA would be bankrupt. The only thing that ties it to any kind of logical business model is March Madness. Do not deny athletes their share when the association is making $ 1 billion a year.
“The NCAA business model would be downright illegal in almost every other industry in America,” Justice Kavanaugh said. “It is highly doubtful that the NCAA and its member colleges can justify not paying student-athletes a fair share of the revenue.”
This opens the door to massive financial gains for these athletes in the future. Judge Kavanaugh even touched on the potential impact on minor sports and Title IX. Athletes could collectively negotiate these benefits. Astonishing. A Supreme Court judge just gave the NCAA a roadmap out of this mess.
It remains to be seen whether the advice is followed.
A prominent Power Five source called Monday’s decision “shock and awe”, suggesting it “abolishes the entire model of amateurism as we know it.” The challenge now, the source said, is to find an NCAA ruling in this space that isn’t a walking antitrust violation.
You know what’s coming, don’t you? NIL is going to be a monster that the NCAA cannot control. He certainly cannot allude to a cap on compensation. He is begging Congress for legal protection not only on NIL, but for any athlete in the past who wishes to sue. This is a huge demand for an organization that has just been blown away by the Supreme Court.
Unless there is this congressional intervention, the NCAA is a fly on the wall of antiquity. And if Congress steps in, the NCAA will be further marginalized. The federal government will be the de facto arbiter of university sports.
“I think it’s terminal. I really think so,” another prominent Power Five source told CBS Sports in March of the current setup.
The NCAA had to know that day was coming. Monday’s loss in court is at least his biggest since benchmark NCAA v. Board of Regents decision in 1984. The Supreme Court deregulated college football television in that one. This ultimately created such a large pile of money that it caught the attention of lawyers and the 30% fee they ordered.
So here we are, discussing the same pile of money that athletes cannot get their hands on. Soon that will change. It’s good for athletes who have been marginalized themselves.
“When you think about this decision and the next NIL, we are now starting to see the onion really peeling over the power of the NCAA,” said Tim Derdanger, associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon. “It’s transformative for the student-athlete.”
The transformation of the NCAA has already begun. The Supreme Court dealt with it.