Universities, student athletes past and present react to Supreme Court ruling against the NCAA

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 3:59 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The billion-dollar business of college athletics has taken a big turn in favor of athletes.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided the NCAA was violating anti-trust laws. The ruling allows student athletes to receive more education-related benefits from their schools, including free study abroad programs, educational equipment, internships and cash awards for academic accomplishments.

Universities and athletic conferences are slow to respond to specifics of the ruling.

“Louisville has been advancing its financial support of our student athletes at an increasing rate and today’s Supreme Court ruling fosters even greater support tethered to educational benefits,” UofL Athletic Director Vince Tyra said in a statement. “We will now await some further clarification from the NCAA and move as quickly as possible on behalf of our student athletes.”

A statement from Bellarmine University read, “We are currently working internally and with our conference to understand how this new ruling affects our student-athletes and our athletics compliance initiatives. Bellarmine University remains committed to acting in the best interests of our student-athletes.”

The University of Kentucky did not issue a statement, instead deferring to comments from Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey.

“The Supreme Court’s opinion today in the (NCAA) case provides clarity as we move forward to provide additional educationally-related benefits to student-athletes,” Sankey said. “What also is clear is the need for the continuing evaluation of the collegiate model consistent with the Court’s decision and message. Our next step is to engage with our member institutions to consider the implications of the opinion delivered today by the Court and to continue our tradition of providing superior educational and competitive opportunities while effectively supporting our student-athletes.”

The high court ruling upholds a previous court decision allowing schools to provide athletes with expanded educational compensation.

It stops short but paves the way for future action that could result in college athletes getting paid to play.

“I think it’s great for athletes to finally have the chance to be rewarded for the work they put in,” UofL linebacker C.J. Avery said. “Each athlete, they put in so much work. So you should be rewarded on that. I think it’s a great thing.”

Louisville attorney and former UofL basketball player Jim Ellis said the ruling is long overdue.

“The scholarship I had paid for my education, my boarding and my meals. That’s about all it paid,” Ellis said. “And when I played, we got $15 a month for laundry money. They don’t even get that now.”

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