SAN FRANCISCO – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower-court ruling prohibiting the NCAA from limiting compensation for education-related expenses for student-athletes.
The decision announced Monday upholds an injunction approved by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on behalf of a nationwide class of student-athletes.
According to the injunction, the NCAA is “permanently restrained and enjoined from agreeing to fix or limit compensation or benefits related to education” that conferences may make available.
The appeals court ruling clears the way for Division I conferences to independently set rules for education-related compensation provided to student-athletes.
The opinion added that the NCAA’s rules restricting non-cash educational-related benefits, “have no demand-preserving effect and, therefore, lack of procompetitive justification.”
Wilken previously ruled in the 2016 Ed O’Bannon antitrust case that schools should be permitted, but not required, to compensate athletes for use of their name, image and likeness, with payments capped at $5,000 per year. The appeals court overturned that and said payments “untethered” to education were not required by schools.”
The U.S Supreme Court declined to review the O’Bannon case.
“We hoped for a different legal conclusion by the Ninth Circuit,“ NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “We argued and believe the lower court’s ruling is inconsistent with both Supreme Court precedent and the Ninth Circuit’s own decision in the O’Bannon case. We will continue to review the opinion and determine our next steps.”
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