In today’s hyper-polarized world there is at least one thing everyone can agree on — the NCAA is a sham. And all nine United States Supreme Court justices agree.
Today, SCOTUS handed down a rare, unanimous 9-0 decision in NCAA v. Alston, slamming the NCAA’s attempt to escape antitrust scrutiny and limit education-related benefits. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion is a great read with potentially far-reaching implications despite the narrow issue before the Court.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion, however, burns the NCAA’s house of cards to the crowd in a blistering rebuke of “amateurism” in a multi-billion dollar college sports industry. Here is the conclusion to his opinion in all its glory:
To be sure, the NCAA and its member colleges maintain important traditions that have become part of the fabric of America—game days in Tuscaloosa and South Bend; the packed gyms in Storrs and Durham; the women’s and men’s lacrosse championships on Memorial Day weekend; track and field meets in Eugene; the spring softball and baseball World Series in Oklahoma City and Omaha; the list goes on. But those traditions alone cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student athletes who are not fairly compensated. Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate. And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.