The case does not determine whether students can be paid salaries. Rather, the judgment will help ascertain whether colleges opt to supply athletes tens of thousands of dollars in education gains for matters including instruction, study abroad programs and graduate scholarships.
The high court said that NCAA limits on the education-related advantages that colleges can provide athletes that play Division I football and basketball violate antitrust legislation.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote to the court that the NCAA searched"immunity against the normal operation of the antitrust laws" And he said that allowing colleges and universities to provide"improved education-related advantages... may promote scholastic achievement and allow student-athletes a measure of compensation more consistent with the value they bring to their colleges."
Under current NCAA rules, pupils cannot be compensated, and the student money schools can offer is capped at the cost of attending the school. The NCAA had defended its own principles as necessary to preserve the amateur nature of sports.
But the former athletes that brought the case, for example former West Virginia soccer player Shawne Alston, contended that the NCAA's principles on education-related settlement were unfair and violated federal antitrust law designed to promote competition.
As a result of the judgment, the NCAA itself can not pub schools from sweetening their offers into Division I basketball and football players with additional education-related advantages. But individual athletic conventions can still set limits if they choose.
"It's our expectation that this victory in the battle for college athletes' rights will continue a tide of justice uplifting further facets of athlete reimbursement," said Steve Berman, a lawyer for the former school athletes, in a statement following the ruling. "This is the acceptable treatment college athletes deserve."