NCAA Petitions Supreme Court to Pause Expanded Benefits for College Athletes

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2020

FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament college basketball game. The number of teams facing postseason bans because of low scores on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate has nearly doubled in one year. Fifteen teams could face the most severe sanction next season compared with eight in 2019-20. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The NCAA filed a petition to the United States Supreme Court Wednesday in an attempt to pause an expansion of education-related benefits to student-athletes, according to Dan Murphy of ESPN.

The case stems from a 2019 ruling in which a federal judge stated that NCAA rules that limit what athletes can receive from their schools violated antitrust law. It determined schools could use an unlimited amount of money on expenses such as computers or science equipment.

This ruling was upheld in an appeals court in May, but the NCAA is now taking its appeal to the Supreme Court. The latest motion could at least provide a stay on the judge's ruling, keeping current rules in place temporarily.

"I think they're trying to put off the inevitable," said Jeffrey Kessler, the lead plaintiffs' attorney in the case. "They keep losing and they keep trying to prevent athletes from getting these benefits. Sooner or later the athletes will get these benefits and the world will move forward. They need to accept that reality."

This case, which was initially filed in 2014 by former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston, is the latest in a long line of legal battles for the NCAA.

A lawsuit was filed in June attempting to allow athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, also seeking damages for lost earnings. This includes the use of athletes' images during telecasts of all sports as well as damages related to potential social media earnings.

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Former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon also notably filed a lawsuit against the NCAA that allowed schools to pay their athletes a stipend to cover expenses related to attending school.

The NCAA appealed the case to the Supreme Court but was denied.

A group of Pac-12 players is also threatening a strike without increased safety measures around COVID-19 as well as name, image, and likeness rights, arguing that the NCAA exploits student-athletes, especially Black student-athletes.