The US Supreme Courtroom accepts the NCAA's enchantment for efficiency limitations for school athletes

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The United States Supreme Court during a rainstorm on Capitol Hill in Washington

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear an offer from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to defend limits on educational compensation for college basketball and football players.

The judges appealed from the NCAA, the primary governing body for US college sports, against a ruling by the 9th San Francisco Court of Appeals that found the organization's rules anti-competitive under a federal law called the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The judges also agreed to hear a call to this effect from major college sports conferences, including all of the big money so-called Power Five conferences: the Big Ten, the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12 Conference, and the Pac-12 Conference.

The case involves students who are players at the highest level in college sports: NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball and those in the Football Bowl subdivision. Soccer and basketball are the top revenue generating sports at the college level.

The case does not focus on the controversial issue of college athlete pay. It only affects the non-cash payments related to education, including services such as computers, scientific equipment, and musical instruments. The 9th Circle determined that the NCAA could limit non-educational remuneration.

The lawsuits filed by college athletes in 2014 and 2015 were consolidated in federal court in California. Her lawyers said the NCAA's compensation limits were a form of illegal trade restriction at a time when leading intercollegiate conferences are generating billions in revenue.

The 9th Circle rejected the NCAA's argument that its limits were necessary to preserve the amateur nature of college sports and thus competition in the market between amateur and professional sports.

The court is expected to hear orally early next year. The decision is due at the end of June.

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