Lawsuits against NCAA continue

A United States District Court judge last week refused to dismiss two lawsuits against the NCAA that challenge the collegiate athletics association’s ability to place caps on scholarships. These scholarship limits are paramount in preserving the amateur status of student-athletes.

The judge, Claudia Wilken, also presided over the Ed O’Bannon trial this summer. Her ruling in the landmark case paved the way for Bowl Subdivision football players and Division I men’s basketball players to receive higher scholarships and compensation for use of their images and names after graduation.

In one of the two current cases, a former student-athlete is seeking a ban on NCAA compensation limits. If the plaintiffs win, the case may be worth millions of dollars in class-action damages.

The plaintiffs in the other case aren’t after damages, but they are calling for a free-market NCAA in which student-athletes could be paid. Essentially, both cases say that NCAA rules illegally cap scholarships at levels less than actual college costs.

It’s important for colleges to be able to sufficiently incentivize student-athletes with scholarships, as sports take up time they could have otherwise spent working. In addition, they deserve some compensation for use of their images on TV or in video games.

However, it’s important to remember what’s most important in collegiate athletics: education. Most student-athletes won’t make sports their career, and Wilken must be careful not to let college sports slip any further into the professional realm.