How Utah leaders in college athletics responded to the Supreme Court's ruling on NCAA amateurism

Tom Holmoe meets with the media Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 in the Marriott Center Annex in Provo.

Tom Holmoe meets with the media Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 in the Marriott Center Annex in Provo. (Brandon Despain, BYU Athletics, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the NCAA's concept of amateurism when it ruled Monday via unanimous decision that the association cannot enforce rules limiting student-athlete "education-related benefits" that colleges offer.

And while the case didn't specifically address concepts like whether athletes are considered employees of the university or forthcoming name, image and likeness legislation from several states in the union, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in his opinion that the NCAA was not immune from "immunity from the normal operation of the antitrust laws."

"The NCAA is not above the law," Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a separate opinion.

Essentially, a precedent was set for other legal redresses such as the one presented by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston that sparked Monday's ruling and reinforced a lower court's original ruling: come at the NCAA for anti-trust violations, and you will (most likely) win.

"It is our hope that this victory in the battle for college athletes' rights will carry on a wave of justice uplifting further aspects of athlete compensation," said Steve Berman, an attorney for the former college athletes, in a statement following the ruling. "This is the fair treatment college athletes deserve."

Even without addressing NIL legislation, the ruling also paves the way for such legislation to take hold in states where it is currently moving forward (such as Georgia and California) and allows other states to enact similar legislation — or even national laws and regulations for name, image and likeness representation.

"Even though the decision does not directly address name, image and likeness, the NCAA remains committed to supporting NIL benefits for student-athletes," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. "Additionally, we remain committed to working with Congress to chart a path forward, which is a point the Supreme Court expressly stated in its ruling."

But what does the ruling mean for local universities, namely the Division I institutions in the state of Utah? reached out to each university's athletic department soliciting comment. The following is how each responded, and will be updated with each response.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe

"Today's Supreme Court ruling is another element to help us adjust to the necessities of student-athlete compensation. BYU Athletics remains supportive of our student-athletes making as much money as they can in this new landscape. We feel that our Built4Life program that we formally launched last week offers the wholistic support necessary to help our student-athletes to do so, while receiving important career development that will benefit them beyond their time at BYU. No matter what the details of student-athlete compensation or NIL legislation will look like, we're ready to fold it into our Built4Life program."

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.


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