WCIA — The Supreme Court ruled in favor of college athletes Monday and against the NCAA in its fight of keeping its current business model of amateurism. In a unanimous 9-0 vote, the high court paved the way for student-athletes to receive payments for education-based things such as laptops, internships or postgraduate scholarships, among other compensation benefits, starting immediately.
The NCAA v. Alston case was filed in 2014 when several former athletes, including West Virginia football player Shawne Alston petitioned the NCAA’s model of making billions of dollars off unpaid athletes. The ruling on Monday outlines how the NCAA has been in violation of antitrust laws for decades, by not allowing those educational-related benefits to be paid.
Last week during his yearly media roundtable, Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman spoke on the lawsuit, calling this year ‘the most consequential in the modern history of college sports.’ He added the NCAA v. Alston case wasn’t being talked about enough but it’s his job to stay in tune with all the rulings to put the Illini athletic department at the forefront of all the changes.
“College athletics are changing and there are some things out there that have influence on what college athletics looks like over the next five or ten years, and we’ve got to be prepared as a Big Ten school to be on the front end of that and navigate in that space.”
Monday’s ruling is separate from the name, image and likeness movement that’s moving forward at a rapid pace. It’s also not pay for play but they’re all related in a sense. The justices weighing amateurism as unfair could pave the way for more movement going forward. Illinois lawmakers passed an NLI bill through the House and Senate, it’s sitting on Gov. Pritzker’s desk awaiting his signature. If passed before July 1, Illinois will join 19 other states in green lighting the ability for college athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness. It’s something first-year Illini football coach Bret Bielema has been preparing for.
“That’s going to be the game changer of college football, is what transpires in the next couple months with name, image, and likeness, and being able to pay student athletes for their fanfare,” Bielema said. “For us to use NIL here in Champaign is different than our competitors that may be in a bigger market, or a larger venue or a larger city, I think you have to rely on the strengths of Champaign and that’s what were doing.”