Supreme Court to hear NCAA appeal on compensation

The Supreme Court took a rare step into the sports world Wednesday, announcing it would hear the NCAA appeal of the case involving compensating athletes for playing college sports.

The NCAA and 11 top-level conferences are part of the appeal around whether players must be paid for use of their name, image and likeness (NIL).

In its August court filing urging the Supreme Court to take emergency action, the NCAA proposed legislation with direct congressional oversight be applied to all NIL cases.

The challenge brought forward by a group of college athletes involves whether schools can pay athletes for computers, study abroad scholarships, paid internships, musical instruments and miscellany related to academic pursuits.

Mark Emmert
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

“The athletes have been waiting years to the reap the benefits of competition, and we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will let the injunction take effect so they can experience this now,” said the players’ lawyer Jeffrey L. Kessler.

NCAA presents several hurdles to overcome

Part of the argument from the NCAA remains complications around lifting the existing restrictions around payments to players and the proper weight some sports — revenue-generating sports such as football and basketball — might be granted over others with limited budgets.

There is also the question of a level playing field between private and well-funded institutions with nationally renowned sports teams and public universities.

A district-court ruling was unanimously upheld by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granting Division I men’s or women’s basketball and Bowl Subdivision football players new benefits that include paid internships and post-graduate considerations.

Many large universities have already cut some sports programs, citing budget shortfalls due to revenue loss related to the coronavirus pandemic.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)