The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the NCAA position concerning compensation as it has been raised by college athletes in the US.
In an oral argument that lasted for 90 minutes, the country’s justices heard a case arguing how colleges can reward their athletes who play basketball and football in Division I.
The NCAA maintains that in accordance with its existing rules, student athletes cannot be paid because the compensation is limited to scholarships for their education.
However, former athletes claimed that such regulation of their governing body violates federal antitrust laws, which regulate the conduct of business and are intended to promote competition.
“The antitrust laws should not be a cover for exploitation of the student athletes,” Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh said. “To pay no salaries to the workers who are making the schools billions of dollars on the theory that consumers want the schools to pay their workers nothing seems entirely circular and even somewhat disturbing.”
Justice Clarence Thomas also hit out at the NCAA, pointing out that the salaries of coaches are getting higher even as they are in the same amateur ranks as the athletes.
Meanwhile, reacting to the NCAA’s argument about protecting not just its business but the athletes, Justice Elena Kagan said it all sounded very “high-minded.”
She even mentioned that schools that are considered competitors have seemingly gathered under one organization, using its power “to fix athletic salaries at extremely low levels.”
The Supreme Court is expected to release its final verdict on the case by the end of June. A win for student athletes would put pressure on schools to offer salaries and additional benefits.