Scott Lemieux writes that it is a good thing that the NCAA business model is about to collapse, but is it?
An almost radical court ruling has only one downside: it didn’t go far enough to pay student-athletes for the sham that is ‘amateur’ college athletics ncaa college football 2014 ea sports cover The NCAA is only committed to amateurism insofar as it’s committed to the nearly $900m in annual revenues it makes off ‘student-athletes’. Photograph: EA Sports
On Friday afternoon, US District Judge Claudia Wilken issued a potentially landmark antitrust ruling against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, finding that the severe restrictions the NCAA places on the ability of its players to be compensated clearly violated federal antitrust laws.
The ruling didn’t go far enough: there are still far too stringent caps on how players can be compensated, and the judge permitted the NCAA to maintain its indefensible ban on third party payments to players. But, not unlike the first tentative state court opinions requiring states to make civil unions available to same-sex couples in lieu of marriage, the biggest NCAA ruling in this era of backlash could have a ripple effect and eventually reverse their increasingly unpopular standards. Or, it’s possible that the ruling will allow the NCAA to tinker with, but maintain, a terrible system: the implications of the ruling are too unclear to be sure.
But given that the NCAA’s professed commitment to “amateurism” is an increasingly farcical sham that allows administrators and even comically inept coaches to rake in massive amounts of money while players get paid a fraction of their value, that judgment day can’t come soon enough.