TUCSON, Ariz. — There was a big win for college athletes Monday----not on the field----in the Supreme Court.
It was on the issue of compensation for student athletes. One of the Justices suggested the court could expand player rights even more.
Jake Smith was a kicker at University of Arizona who stayed in the world of sports as an agent for professional athletes. He’s been active in the fight to give college players fair compensation for the talents they bring to the schools they play for.
“I think it's just a great day for college athletics, and most importantly the athletes that the foundation is built on.”
The Supreme Court ruled college sports is effectively an industry breaking anti-trust law by unfairly suppressing what it pays its workers. The Court ruled the NCAA must allow colleges and universities to compensate students beyond the athletic scholarships they offer now as long as the compensation is still related to academics.
That allows compensation like paid internships, and school related equipment like computers.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed but went farther, effectively inviting a new case to consider paying players. The NCAA has stuck to the idea student athletes are amateurs but he said that: “...cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student athletes who are not fairly compensated.”
Jake Smith says, “THE NCAA argument which Kavanaugh, rightly realized was that it's circular, it's unfounded, and their whole thing is, well, they're amateurs because they don't get paid and we don't pay them because they're amateurs and does not actually apply in the court of law.”
Responding to the ruling, University of Arizona Athletic Director Dave Heeke said: “We support this ruling because it benefits our students-athletes. It provides us the opportunity to determine what are appropriate educational benefits when supporting their progress toward graduation.”
But Jake Smith can foresee the court ruling in favor of broader issues he’s fought for like payment for a college player when his or her performance makes their image a powerful marketing tool.
“You know we had guys on our team that you know of no fault of our own program, but because the rules, you know, couldn't really afford to eat, or live comfortably because they're sending money home and things like that. So the opportunities that this provides you know, you know the coming future is going to be pretty remarkable, pretty great.”
This ruling -- marks the first time in more than 30 years the Supreme Court has weighed in on the governance of college sports.
Back in 1985 -- the Court upheld a ruling between the NCAA and the Board of regents of Oklahoma University.
The Supreme Court said that the NCAA was breaking antitrust laws by limiting the amount of times that individual schools could be on TV.
ESPN says the ruling led to an increase in media rights revenue that has reshaped the top tier of college sports.
Meanwhile -- the NCAA has asked Congress for help in creating a Federal law to address how college athletes may be compensated for use of their name, image and likeness, or NIL.
Here in Arizona -- our NIL state law will go into effect July 23rd.
Arizona’s law will protect college athletes from being denied a scholarship or eligibility for their sport if they receive NIL-based compensation.
There is also no provision -- requiring athletes to disclose endorsement contracts.