On June 21, 2021, the US Supreme Court unanimously upheld a federal district court ruling and permanent injunction stating that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is prohibited under The Sherman Act from limiting college athletes from receiving “other education-related benefits that can be provided on top of a grant-in-aid.” In re Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n Athletic Grant-in-Aid Cap Antitrust Litig., 375 F. Supp. 3d 1058, 1109 (N.D. Cal. 2019) (subsequent citations omitted).
In the majority opinion, Justice Gorsuch reasoned that: “The [district] court enjoined only restraints on education-related benefits—such as those limiting scholarships for graduate school, payments for tutoring, and the like. The court did so, moreover, only after finding that relaxing these restrictions would not blur the distinction between college and professional sports and thus impair demand—and only after finding that this course represented a significantly (not marginally) less restrictive means of achieving the same procompetitive benefits as the NCAA’s current rules.”
The district court’s permanent injunction, issued on March 8, 2019, states: “The compensation and benefits related to education provided on top of a grant-in-aid that the NCAA may not agree to fix or limit pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Order are the following: computers, science equipment, musical instruments and other tangible items not included in the cost of attendance calculation but nonetheless related to the pursuit of academic studies; post-eligibility scholarships to complete undergraduate or graduate degrees at any school; scholarships to attend vocational school; tutoring; expenses related to studying abroad that are not included in the cost of attendance calculation; and paid post-eligibility internships.” In re Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n Athletic Grant-in-aid Cap Antitrust Litig., No. 14-MD-02541 CW, 2019 WL 1593939, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 8, 2019) (subsequent citations omitted).
Documents, proceedings, and orders in the US Supreme Court case National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston are available on SCOTUSblog.