Defunding the universities has started — with Supreme Court's NCAA decision

Universities, with their endless diversity officers, six-figure salaries, tax-free set-ups, and luxury buildings going up like mushrooms, might just see their first brake on runaway spending.

According to C-SPAN:

The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously affirmed a ruling Monday that provides for an incremental increase in how college athletes can be compensated and also opens the door for future legal challenges that could deal a much more significant blow to the NCAA's current business model.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the court's opinion, which upheld a district court judge's decision that the NCAA was violating antitrust law by placing limits on the education-related benefits that schools can provide to athletes. The decision allows schools to provide their athletes with unlimited compensation as long as it is some way connected to their education.

Gorsuch wrote that the nation's highest court limited the scope of its decision on those education-related benefits rather than delving further into questions about the association's business model. Justice Brett Kavanaugh published a concurring opinion that takes a harder line, suggesting that the NCAA's rules that restrict any type of compensation -- including direct payment for athletic accomplishments -- might no longer hold up well in future antitrust challenges.

Translation: The door is open for university athletes to finally get paid something.  Colleges in fact have been reaping billions from the products of the young people's labor, distributing the gravy to bloat their bureaucracies, build their buildings, and promote themselves, all the while giving the kids nothing and calling it the virtue of amateurism.  In some cases, injured kids, who lose any prospect of professional basketball or football careers and the millions that come of it, are wadded up and thrown away — you're on your own, kid.

It sounds like a good deal for the NCAA as well as its university patrons.  Because that's some real exploitation on the backs of the kids, many of whom are poor and black, and who have spent their time honing their sports skills and talents, given the failing union-run schools they get otherwise.

John Hinderaker of Power Line has an expert legal analysis of what this is all about:

The NCAA's defense was that its rules are necessary to preserve amateur college sports as distinct from professional sports. Without this distinction, the market for amateur sports would collapse:

The NCAA's only remaining defense was that its rules preserve amateurism, which in turn widens consumer choice by providing a unique product — amateur college sports as distinct from professional sports. Admittedly, this asserted benefit accrues to consumers in the NCAA's seller-side consumer market rather than to student-athletes whose compensation the NCAA fixes in its buyer-side labor market.

This is by no means a stupid argument. The District Court, in an opinion that the Supreme Court found to be well-reasoned, essentially accepted the NCAA's rationale, but drew a distinction between education-related and non-education-related benefits. It found that the former have little to do with preserving the distinction between amateur and professional sports, and invalidated them, while upholding the NCAA's limits on non-education-related benefits.

That's not precisely a ruling on pay for student athletes, but it opens the door to it.

And that's generally good news, given the fact that left-wing universities are benefiting from sports tournaments and its talented athletes in some disciplines to the tune of billions of dollars, yet giving nothing to the athletes.  If athletes, who often spend their youth honing their athletic talents at the expense of their academic prowess, need tutors, then offering tutors at least, particularly with kids on the road all the time, seems a pretty reasonable thing for universities to offer, particularly since they are educational institutions.  Same with trips abroad, and educational equipment for athletics.  Yet the NCAA forbade all of these things in the name of "amateurism."  And in the end, the athletes got exploited, coming out of universities barely able to read, while the unluckier ones got tossed aside if they got injured.  When we hear of million-dollar pro athletes complaining about "slavery" and "exploitation," there might be a few who have some experience by thinking of this.

It's an unsustainable system and, as Kavanaugh noted, illegal in every other industry.  Sports athletes peak early in their careers, which is just the nature of the matter, and by spending time in college, the student-athletes waste what could be fruitful, high-salary athletic careers.  Giving them a little of what they earn for others is actually only fair.  The Supreme Court ruled right in this instance, even the leftists among them.  Merit should be rewarded, high-dollar-generators should be paid, and young people in educational institutions should be educated instead of just exploited.  Now a competition can emerge from all those bloated university endowments on how to attract the best players with the best compensation.  If that reduces the cash available for new buildings and new diversity officers, well, too bad. 

Further down the road, this may be the end of bloated, overpaid university bureaucracies, wokesterism, and systemic corruption built of any system with big piles of money rolling in.  The Supremes' decision may well force universities to provide things of value to their students.

Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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