Court denies up to $5,000 in deferred payments to NCAA athletes

Christina Vessa

A proposed payment of up to $5,000 in compensation for college athletes was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit Wednesday. The Court of Appeals ruled that NCAA member colleges must only compensate student athletes for the cost of attendance.

Wednesday’s ruling upheld a federal judge’s findings last year that the NCAA must comply with antitrust laws, but denied the judge’s proposal that member athletes should be paid in deferred compensation.


This ruling means that universities and colleges will not have to budget annually for compensation of men’s basketball and football players for use of their names in commercial products such as video games and television broadcasts.

Judge Sidney R. Thomas wrote that payment of $5,000 in deferred compensation would not significantly reduce consumer demand for college sports.

“The difference between offering student athletes education-related compensation and offering them cash sums untethered to educational expenses is not minor — it is a quantum leap,” the ruling states.

NCAA President Mark Emmert wrote on Twitter that he agrees with the court ruling, and that “allowing students to be paid cash compensation of up to $5,000 per year was erroneous.” The NCAA has allowed schools to provide up to the full cost of attendance since Aug. 1.

“In this case, the NCAA’s rules have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market,” the ruling states. “The Rule of Reason requires that the NCAA permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student athletes. It does not require more.”

Collegian News Editor Christina Vessa can be reached online at or on Twitter @ChrissyVessa.