The 9-0 decision Justice Neil Gorsuch penned this week in Alston v. NCAA capped a remarkable string of wins for Winston & Strawn co-chair Jeffrey Kessler and his college athlete clients.
Kessler, our Litigator of the Week, handled oral arguments at the High Court, but he’s represented college football players and men’s and women’s basketball players as co-lead counsel in the case for years now. The testimony and evidence he and his team put on in a 2018 bench trial before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland helped convince the judge that the NCAA violated federal antitrust law by capping the education-based aid the athletes could receive. Wilken issued an injunction barring the NCAA and its member schools and conferences from capping benefits such as computers, science equipment, postgraduate scholarships, and aid to study abroad to the athlete plaintiffs. Last year the team convinced the Ninth Circuit to uphold that injunction, with Kessler and co-counsel Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro handling oral argument.