Thursday December 7, 2023

NCAA Asks Supreme Court to Review Alston Case

  • The NCAA requested that the Supreme Court review a circuit court ruling that found the NCAA violated antitrust law.
  • The NCAA is currently looking to gain antitrust exemption in Congress.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

The NCAA has issued a request to the Supreme Court to review a circuit court ruling in the case Alston v. NCAA. The ruling found that the NCAA violated antitrust law by limiting the amount of education related benefits — like money to cover the cost of computers — that athletes could procure.

The request comes during a busy news week for the Supreme Court, as the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacant seat left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

“The [circuit court] ruling blurs the line between student-athletes and professionals, conflicts with prior appellate court decisions, appoints a single court to micromanage collegiate sports, and encourages never-ending litigation following every rule change,” NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy wrote in a statement. 

The request, filed by the NCAA and reviewed by Front Office Sports, referenced a prior Supreme Court ruling in which the court found that the amateur and student nature of college athletes differentiates it from professional sports, and therefore is essential to college sports.

“The decision below deprives the NCAA of the leeway that sports-governing bodies and joint ventures ordinarily have under antitrust law, leeway that this Court and others have recognized the NCAA needs to administer inter-collegiate athletics,” the petition said. 

One of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs on the case, Jeffrey Kessler, told Front Office Sports in an email that he does not believe the ruling will be overturned. “We do not believe it likely that the Supreme Court will take this case, as it does not raise any new legal issues or circuit split for the Court to consider,” Kessler said. “In fact, the petition identifies the exact same legal issues previously raised by the NCAA with respect to the prior O’Bannon litigation that the NCAA lost, and the Supreme Court declined to review those issues at that time.” 

Kessler’s comments refer to a previous ruling in which the same circuit court found that the NCAA violated antitrust law when it refused to compensate college athletes for the use of their name, image and likeness in an NCAA video game. 

While it is true that the Supreme Court declines the vast majority of requests to hear cases, it is unsurprising that the NCAA is fighting the circuit court’s ruling in every way possible. Antitrust law has recently haunted the NCAA, as it could threaten the governing body’s ability to keep college athletes like men’s basketball and football players amateurs and not pay them to play sports, despite the millions they rake in each year for athletic departments.

The previous ruling also proves concerning to the governing body given that athletes will soon be allowed to profit off the use of their name, image and likeness. Outside this case, the NCAA is also currently requesting an antitrust exemption from Congress, so that the NCAA might control pending regulations regarding college athlete NIL rights, as well as rule once and for all that athletes are amateurs, and thus can’t be subject to employment law or be able to unionize. 

The original lawsuit was filed as a class action by former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston, and others, in 2014.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Seven State AGs Sue NCAA Over Transfer Eligibility Rule

They say the NCAA’s one-time transfer reform didn’t go far enough.
Two federal lawmakers from Florida have asked the CFP for more transparency in its decision-making process after FSU's omission from the playoff.

Florida's Federal Lawmakers Are Going After the College Football Playoff

Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Sen. Rick Scott have both made statements.
Five professional sports labor unions have endorse college athletes becoming employees.

Five Pro Sports Unions Endorse College Athlete Employment

The MLBPA, NFLPA, NBPA, NHLPA, and MLSPA weighed in.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Why the NBA May Have Made Billions With Midseason Tournament


Featured Today

The College Football Playoff is considering rotating TV networks for the national championship game.

CFP Considers Super Bowl-Like Rotation For National Championship Game

Multiple networks could share rights to the championship game, sources told FOS.
Brett Favre
November 27, 2023

Favre Welfare Case Hold-Up? "AG’s Office Has Not Expressed Interest In Pursuing"

The DOJ interviewed Brett Favre in early 2020.
The future of the Pac-12 rests on a court decision.
November 24, 2023

The Pac-12 Plays Its Final Regular-Season Game. Then A Court Decides Its Fate.

The conference's future rests with a court decision.
Lane Kiffin
November 9, 2023

Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin Lawyers Argue for Dismissal of Player Lawsuit

FOS obtained audio of Lane Kiffin's interaction with the player behind lawsuit.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple Locations
Multiple Locations
Creative Artists Agency
Multiple Locations
NCAA President Charlie Baker has proposed new rules that would allow athletes to receive more compensation.

New NCAA Proposal Takes Step Toward Compensating Athletes

It does not allow athletes to become employees, however.
December 3, 2023

After Unbeaten FSU’s Snub, Financial and Legal Fallout

FSU, ACC to take sizable revenue hit despite Seminoles' undefeated season.
JMU football has been spending like a Group of 5 team for years. Now it will play its first bowl game.
December 4, 2023

James Madison, the FCS Team That Spent Like an FBS Team To Become One

The Dukes have been spending like a Sun Belt program for years.

NHL’s Chris Foster on Amplifying Content Distribution With Automation

Learn how the NHL is using WSC Sports to increase fan engagement.
Florida lawmakers already have an appetite to propose state legislation to protest Florida State not making the College Football Playoff.
December 3, 2023

Florida Lawmakers Consider Protesting Florida State CFP Omission

It's unclear what form a bill would take.
December 1, 2023

TV Networks Are Programming College Football’s Future: What’s Next

Conference championship weekends will have a different feel in the future.
A lawsuit against the university of Oregon could dictate the future of Title IX and NIL.
December 1, 2023

New Lawsuit Could Decide Whether NIL Is Subject To Title IX

It's one of the biggest unanswered questions of the NIL era.