Appeals Court Rules NCAA Can't Limit College Athletes' Education Expenses

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03:  The NCAA logo on the floor during a Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Tournament - First Round college basketball game between the Richmond Spiders and the George Washington Colonials at the Smith Center on March 3, 2020 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

A federal appeals court dealt another blow to the NCAA on Monday when it comes to the debate about how collegiate athletes should be compensated. 

According to Dan Murphy of ESPN, the appeals court upheld a March 2019 ruling from Judge Claudia Wilken that would allow colleges to pay for all education-related expenses for athletes.

Wilken said schools could cover costs for things such as "computers, science equipment, musical instruments" and other educational items, and NCAA rules limiting those expenses violate antitrust laws.

The NCAA argued its existing rules are consistent federal law and allow schools to offer a scholarship and a cost-of-attendance stipend. While the ruling was upheld, the NCAA still has the option to ask the Supreme Court to review the decision.

This battle dates back to 2014 when former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston filed a lawsuit against the NCAA saying that limiting the compensation schools offer to their athletes goes against antitrust laws.

Alston's attorneys asked to expand the compensation allowed to more than just educational expenses, but that request was declined.

This comes at a time when name, image and likeness debates have made headlines surrounding athletes and their ability to profit while playing at the collegiate level.

Murphy noted the NCAA's board of governors announced in April it supported the idea of athletes receiving endorsement money as long as there were "guard rails" to differentiate college sports from professional sports.