R&I – FS
WASHINGTON — A Supreme Court case being argued this week amid March Madness could erode the difference between elite college athletes and professional sports stars.
If the former college athletes who brought the case win, colleges could end up competing for talented student athletes by offering over-the-top education benefits worth tens of thousands of dollars. And that could change the nature of college sports.
The former players have so far won every round of the case. Lower courts agreed that NCAA rules capping the education-related benefits schools can offer Division I men’s and women’s basketball players and football players violate a federal antitrust law. The narrow ruling still keeps schools from directly paying athletes, but the NCAA says it is a step in that direction.
In an interview, the NCAA’s chief legal officer Donald Remy defended the association’s rules. He said the Supreme Court has previously found preserving the amateur nature of college sports to be an “appropriate, pro-competitive justification for the restrictions that exist in the system of college athletics.”