A judge has ruled against the NCAA in a federal antitrust lawsuit, saying football and basketball players should be permitted to receive more compensation from schools, but only if the benefits are tied to education.
The ruling Friday night from U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, said the NCAA cannot “limit compensation or benefits related to education.”
The plaintiffs in the so-called Alston cases were seeking much more. Plaintiffs had asked the judge to lift all NCAA caps on compensation and to allow schools to provide benefits beyond a scholarship to college athletes.
The goal was to create a free market, where conferences set rules for compensating athletes, but this ruling still allows the NCAA to prohibit cash compensation untethered to education-related expenses.
The claim was against the NCAA and the 11 conferences that have competed in the highest level of college football.
“We have proven to the court that the NCAA’s weak justifications for this unfair system are based on a self-serving mythology that does not match the facts,” said Steve Berman, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “Today’s ruling will change college sports as we know it, forever.”