The U.S. Supreme Court is leaving in place court rulings that found the NCAA's amateurism rules for big-time college basketball and football players violated federal antitrust law.
The justices on Monday rejected the Indianapolis-based NCAA's appeal in a class-action lawsuit originally filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon and other athletes. The court also rejected O'Bannon's separate appeal that called on the justices to reinstate a plan to pay football and basketball players.
The effect of the high-court action is to leave the NCAA vulnerable to more legal challenges that are working their way through the courts.
In 2014, a U.S. district judge decided the NCAA's use of names, images and likenesses of college athletes without compensation violated antitrust law. Judge Claudia Wilken ruled schools could — but were not required to — pay football and men's basketball players up to $5,000 per year. The money would go into a trust and be available to the athletes after leaving college. Wilken also ruled schools could increase the value of the athletic scholarship to meet the federal cost of attendance figure for each institution.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year overturned Wilken's ruling on the payments of $5,000, but upheld the antitrust violation.
The NCAA has said it already has addressed one aspect of Wilken's ruling by increasing the amount of aid schools may provide athletes.