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U.S. Supreme Court rejects NCAA defense of athlete compensation limits

Credit: REUTERS/Kirby Lee

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the National Collegiate Athletic Association in its bid to maintain limits on education-related compensation for student-athletes that critics say help maintain the fiction of amateurism in college sports.

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the National Collegiate Athletic Association in its bid to maintain limits on education-related compensation for student-athletes that critics say help maintain the fiction of amateurism in college sports.

The court ruled 9-0 that the NCAA's curbs on non-cash payments to college athletes related to education - including benefits such as computers, science equipment and musical instruments - are anticompetitive under a federal law called the Sherman Antitrust Act. The NCAA is the major governing body for U.S. intercollegiate sports.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year found the NCAA's rules to be anticompetitive, upholding a 2019 injunction imposed by California-based U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken that allowed education-related compensation.

Wilken set new rules that the NCAA said were arbitrary and could pave the way to future challenges to other policies set by the organization.

College athletes who filed lawsuits in 2014 and 2015 - consolidated into a single case in California federal court - argued that the NCAA's compensation limits represent a form of unlawful restraint of trade at a time when the leading intercollegiate conferences are amassing billions of dollars in revenue.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

((lawrence.hurley@thomsonreuters.com; Twitter: @lawrencehurley; +1 202-809-3080;))

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