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On June 21, 2021, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that college athletes are eligible to receive unrestricted education-related payments – a landmark decision that could act as the catalyst for change with respect to college athletes’ rights.

The case involved National Collegiate Athletic Association (the “NCAA”) rules that place limits on educational benefits for college athletes, such as post-eligibility scholarships, graduate or vocational school scholarships, and academic tutoring. The plaintiffs, present and former student-athletes in men’s Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision and men’s and women’s Division 1 basketball, brought an antitrust lawsuit challenging the NCAA’s rules that limit the compensation they may receive in exchange for their athletic services. The plaintiffs alleged that the NCAA’s rules violated §1 of the Sherman Act, which prohibits contracts, combinations, or conspiracies in restraint of trade or commerce. 15 U. S. C. § 1. The NCAA argued, in essence, that its rules preserve amateurism, which widens consumer choice by providing amateur college sports as distinct from professional sports. The Supreme Court noted that the key facts in the case were undisputed – the NCAA has rules regarding compensation limits for student-athletes; the NCAA enforces these limits on schools; and the compensation limits affect interstate commerce. 

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