Fort, Szymanski pen amicus brief for SCOTUS case
Rodney Fort, professor of Sport Management, is the lead author on an amicus brief that was filed with the Supreme Court of the United States in regards to the National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston case. Stefan Szymanski, professor of Sport Management, is a co-author.
According to scotusblog.com, National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston’s main issue revolves around “whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erroneously held, in conflict with decisions of other circuits and general antitrust principles, that the National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility (NCAA) rules regarding compensation of student-athletes violate antitrust law.” The lawsuit claims the NCAA restricted athletes from accepting education-related benefits beyond the registrar’s usual full cost of college attendance.
The NCAA and 11 major athletic conferences came to the Supreme Court in October 2020 to appeal the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s decision. The NCAA also claims it should receive “fast track” antitrust treatment rather than a full-blown review.
An amicus brief is filed by a “friend of the court” to inform a court deliberation.
“The friends (amici) did not contribute to the proceedings as counsel or experts and offer their opinion for free. I was asked by another economist to spearhead the efforts for sports economists,” Fort explained. “I produced the first draft, with some editing help from a small group. Then the brief was circulated to a list of sports economists, who, if they were willing, were added as signatories.”
Fort noted within the brief that longstanding findings within sports economics were either being wrongly interpreted or ignored. He writes, “The relationship of economics research to this case is that all of the fundamental economic issues about the operation of college sports have been examined in objective research by sports economists. What objectives are pursued by those creating and organizing college sports? How are college sports organized to achieve those objectives? What is the impact of the organization of college sports on the product offered to fans and on the athlete labor input to that production process?”
His goal was to rectify that and help better inform the court when making their decision.
According to Fort, if the Supreme Courtaffirms the ruling, student-athletes can receive any education-related benefits, including paid internships. If the court sends it back, athletes could have some benefits approved and others not. However, Fort noted the bigger deal is what SCOTUS says about “fast track,” saying it would be a huge victory for the NCAA if the court sided with them.
The court heard arguments on March 31 and is expected to decide on the case by this summer.
Read the brief at myumi.ch/bvGow.