What the court ruling for NCAA student-athletes means

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Supreme Court justices have ruled unanimously against the NCAA restrictions for education-related benefits, allowing more money to go toward student-athletes.

While the ruling narrowly grants athletes an unlimited amount of education-related benefits, such as computers and paid internships, many questions exist on how this policy will play out.

“There’s definitely the fairness argument from the men’s basketball, football revenue side that why should we generate all this revenue and not receive a greater cut of it?” said Nathaniel Grow, Indiana University Kelley School of Business sports law professor. “But then on the flip side, you know, if you went to full pay for play, the opportunities might not be there for women’s tennis or gymnastics.”

Grow says the issue of name, image and likeness remains a separate, long-term issue. However, due to the justices’ ruing on educational benefits, the professor believes there will be more of an “incremental increase” in money instead of a “free agency,” where college athletes could take on unlimited amounts of endorsements. He explains this ruling ultimately will benefit the schools that are “most creative.”

“They (could) hook up with a company in Spain and offer monthlong internships over the summer in Barcelona (for example), and is that going to attract a student-athlete that another school might not be able to?” Grow told News 8.

Clark Kellogg, a former Indiana Pacers and Ohio State University player, called the ruling a moment of “empowerment” for student-athletes, but he still had many questions on policy himself.

“How it plays out now is going to be really interesting because it’s going to require tremendous education on the part of institutions being educated, institutions educating their players, players and their families being educated,” Clark said. “How do we leverage it? How do how do we amplify and enhance it? How do we regulate and monitor it within the spirit of college sports?”

In a statement, the NCAA says, “While today’s decision preserves the lower court ruling, it also reaffirms the NCAA’s authority to adopt reasonable rules and repeatedly notes that the NCAA remains free to articulate what are and are not truly educational benefits, consistent with the NCAA’s mission to support student-athletes.” 

Tom Allen, the Indiana University head football coach, says the change will be challenging but he’s determined to help his players in the best way he can.

“We’re going to do the best job we possibly can as a university and as a football program to allow our players to maximize that opportunity with the NFL and what all that means, and, so, for me, it’s about helping our players grow their … their brand, but within the framework of our football team, and that’s what “LEO” (the Love Each Other campaign) is all about.”