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Supreme Court rejects NCAA appeal of amateurism antitrust case

1995: Ed O'Bannon of the UCLA Bruins cuts down the net after the Bruins 89-78 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the National Championship game at Key Arena in Seattle, WA.
John McDonough/Icon Sportswire

The United States Supreme Court has rejected the NCAA’s appeal of the Ed O’Bannon ruling that found the organization to be in violation of federal antitrust law with their amateurism rules for football and basketball players. The justices also rejected O’Bannon’s appeal for a plan to pay collegiate football and basketball players.

In 2014, a district court judge decided that the NCAA’s uncompensated use of the names, images, and likenesses of college athletes violated antitrust law. The court ruled that schools could pay athletes up to $5,000 or increase the value of their scholarships to meet the cost-of-attendance figures for each institution. The payment ruling has since been overturned, but the NCAA is still seen to be in violation of federal antitrust law.

“While we are disappointed with this decision not to review this case, we remain pleased that the 9th Circuit agreed with us that amateurism is an essential component of college sports and that NCAA members should not be forced by the courts to provide benefits untethered to education, including providing any payments beyond the full cost of attendance,” chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement.

The NCAA claims to have addressed the value of athletic scholarships by passing legislation that allows schools to increase the value of athletic scholarships to meed federal cost of attendance figures. Those figures include estimates for cost of travel between school and home as well as costs of clothing and food.

By rejecting the appeal, the Supreme Court has left the NCAA vulnerable to further challenges to the legality of their amateurism rules.

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