U.S. Appeals Court: NCAA Violated Antitrust Law

September 30, 2015

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday upheld a lower court's decision that National Collegiate Athletic Association rules that limit what college athletes can be paid violate antitrust laws. But the appeals court tossed out the original judge's recommendation that athletes receive deferred compensation of up to $5,000 per year.

“The NCAA is not above the antitrust laws, and courts cannot and must not shy away from requiring the NCAA to play by the Sherman [Antitrust] Act's rules,” the three-judge panel wrote in its decision. “In this case, the NCAA's rules have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market. The Rule of Reason requires that the NCAA permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student athletes. It does not require more.”

In January, using a new governance structure that granted them greater autonomy to create their own rules, the five wealthiest athletic conferences passed a measure allowing -- but not requiring -- colleges to offer scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance.

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