After the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in an unanimous decision that the NCAA has illegally restricted education-based benefits that could be used as compensation to student athletes, an athletics agent told Fox News that it was a similarly rare occurrence of the collegiate league being essentially on their heels.
Sports agent Doug Eldridge joined “Your World” and called the ruling a “significant” development for college athletics.
“The fact that we get a unanimous decision seems pretty rare these days from the Supreme Court much less on the this,” he said. “They found the lower court decision indicating that artificial caps or restraints or barriers to education benefits was an anti trust violation… More importantly, to your question, this arguably does open the floodgates to bigger issue, which is compensating student athletes for the second part, not students but rather the athletic benefits they provide the university.”
Several current and former student athletes had sued the NCAA and 11 conferences, claiming that the rules restricting compensation violated antitrust laws. A lower court ruling maintained the NCAA’s rules of generally forbidding payment to student athletes, while allowing for education-related aid. The students accepted this, but the NCAA fought it, eventually bringing the case to the high court.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that the court “cannot agree” with what he called an NCAA-proposed “sort of judicially ordained immunity” from the terms of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
Eldridge said the ruling could put an “NIL” or name-image-and-likeness benefit on the horizon for athletes.
“This is the first time that we’ve seen the NCAA on their back foot. They not only have fantastic legal teams but fantastic marketing teams to-boot. For example, the name or moniker ‘student athlete’, that was created out of thin air by the legal team in concert with some market analysts to preserve the notion of amateurism,” he continued.
Eldridge explained that “student athlete” was essentially meant to separate such athletes from professional sports players.
“The last time the Supreme Court weighed in was 1985. That’s when they removed the cap on the number of teams could be on national television,” he said. “When that happened, revenue exploded creating the billion dollar industry. This is the beginning, not the end.”
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.