Federal Appeals Court Won’t Reconsider Plan That Would Pay College Football, Basketball Players

If you’re a college athlete hoping to score some cash from your time on the basketball court or on the football field, you’re out of luck: a federal appeals court has decided against reconsidering its ruling striking down a plan to pay some NCAA athletes.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals followed up on its September decision to put the kibosh on a proposal that would’ve allowed schools to pay football and basketball players up to $5,000 a year in deferred compensation, by voting 2-1 not to have a larger panel of judges rehear the case, reports the Associated Press.

The same court ruled earlier this year in a lawsuit brought against by the NCAA by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon that colleges are violating antitrust laws by profiting from student-athletes’ names and likenesses while these same students are forbidden from receiving any money.

But the court said student athletes shouldn’t be paid in cash — which would go into a trust fund until the athletes graduated — and instead determined that scholarships covering the full cost of an education would suffice as compensation for the use of players’ names and likenesses.

In issuing its judgment this fall, the appeals court said allowing cash payments would have an effect on the positive aspects of colleges’ amateurism rules.

“[I]n finding that paying students cash compensation would promote amateurism as effectively as not paying them, the district court ignored that not paying student-athletes is precisely what makes them amateurs,” read the opinion. “Having found that amateurism is integral to the NCAA’s market, the district court cannot plausibly conclude that being a poorly-paid professional collegiate athlete is ‘virtually as effective’ for that market as being as amateur.”

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