Unrivaled: Supreme Court Ruling Just Opened The Floodgates For NCAA Athletes

Jun 23, 2021, 3:27 PM
NCAA logo - Tournament - Recruiting...
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 16: The NCAA logo is seen in the second half of the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Early this week, the Supreme Court ruled on its first case of the new session and it was a huge blow to the NCAA and how it has its thumb over student-athletes. The 9-0 ruling was in favor of the athletes regarding compensation that they can receive, specifically from education-related expenses.

The NCAA has always hidden under the disguise of amateurism while racking in billions upon billions of dollars while saying a scholarship is good enough for these athletes who are the reason there is a nine-figure media rights deal to air the College Football Playoff.

There has been some movement over the past few years with an additional cost of attendance stipend to help fill the gaps that these athletes have in their day-to-day lives. This ruling does a whole lot more but in the scope of educational expenses, and not the upcoming battle regarding name, image, and likeness.

Think more of assisting with paid internships, laptops, graduate scholarships, and other educational benefits. These types of expenses can not be capped and violate federal antitrust laws, according to the ruling.

Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh seemingly was the harshest critic against the NCAA in his writing of the case.

“Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate,” Kavanaugh wrote. “And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different.

“The NCAA is not above the law.”

Basically, Justice Kavanaugh just nuked the entire NCAA model, and now is the time for the athletes to have an opportunity to earn a share of the pie in their own way.

How Does This Really Impact Utah Colleges?

Even before this ruling, schools were looking into how they can assist athletes with educated-related expenses to bring them to their campus in preparing for this verdict. Graduate school is a bit one as are paid internships to help with post-collegiate sports life.

If a school has a great master’s program then perhaps the school could offer a scholarship that way to get them to campus over using an athletic one. This is just scratching the surface of how creative schools can be.

This was always going to happen and KSL Sports Scott Mitchell pointed out how this move will be a boost to not the mega powers but can really help schools like BYU and Utah who are good but not the cream of the crop like Alabama, Ohio State, or Clemson.

“I believe that the mid-market places like Utah, the state of Utah with colleges like BYU. I think they can benefit from this more than any program, more than even a lot of the bigger name programs because I think that there’s a lot of money here in Utah, a lot of support,” Mitchell said. “These athletes are a big name in Utah. I mean, you have the Utah Jazz, but really, Zach Wilson at BYU was a big name when he was big of a name.”

This narrow lawsuit is about educational expenses but there will be a way for certain high-profile athletes who will get that paid marketing internship with some Silicon Slopes company to essentially be used to promote that company since it falls in line with how an internship works. It will not be an actual endorsement deal like what could happen with NIL, but there will be wiggle room to pay them to them a job that also benefits their education and degree.

This is just the first of a big domino to fall for the NCAA. The name, image, and likeness is going to happen in a matter of time to allow all athletes to make a few bucks off their name. That is why schools like Utah and BYU already have programs set up to help navigate this upcoming terrain as there is no set law or true NCAA guidelines yet.

This is just the first of many wins to come for NCAA athletes to be able to be in control during arguably their most valuable time as an athlete.

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