A year after a district court found in the Ed O'Bannon trial that the NCAA's amateurism rules were breaking antitrust laws, a court of appeals partially affirmed and partially reversed that decision. The circuit court found that the NCAA does break antitrust law, and that it cannot cap the value of a scholarship below the cost of attendance.
However, it reversed the decision that would have allowed schools to pay athletes $5,000 per year in deferred compensation. This could be interpreted as a win for either side (it's probably great for the NCAA in the short term but better for athletes in the long term), and it's hard to say whether it'll be appealed.
That was a very, very welcome decision from our point," said NCAA President Mark Emmert.
The NCAA is not out of the woods, as a lawsuit coming from famed sports attorney Jeffrey Kessler — one of Tom Brady's lead DeflateGate lawyers — looks like the most threatening of the NCAA's other challenges. This decision gives Kessler a road map.
The court held that the NCAA is unnecessarily anti-competitive, and shut down many of its arguments for maintaining its system, such as the idea that athletes might leave school if they make money.
However, the court believed that money outside of a scholarship was a "quantum leap" from the status quo. Therefore, Kessler will try to prove the "scholarship" is mere rhetoric and actually a financial incentive to play sports. This has been done before, such as in the Northwestern unionization movement, when a regional director was convinced athletes are held to different standards than regular students.
Judges still see college athletes as students first. The more Kessler can do to disprove that, the more successful he will be.
The court also mentioned EA Sports' NCAA Football series, but don't get your hopes up too high for a return just yet.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the college football world, it's Texas time in The Week In Schadenfreude.
To Play or Not to Play. The #HotTakes Industrial Complex is weighing in on Leonard Fournette's NFL future, and LSU blog And the Valley Shook has its own thoughts.
A possible turning point? Georgia wants to regain its big-game mojo this weekend with Alabama coming to Athens.
Is Big 12 shootout redundant? Oklahoma and West Virginia will square off on Saturday, and the winner could be in the driver's seat to win the conference.
Well, that got out of hand quickly. How did Utah do that to Oregon? Ian Boyd breaks it down.
SHUTDOWN FULLCAST wonders, what's Texan for PAWWWWL!, as it's also Texas time here.
Speaking of Texas, Nike's letting the Horns hit the open market for a new apparel contract.
"Cupcakes," eh? One Texas A&M regent thinks the Aggies need Texas back on the schedule to get a break from the rest of the SEC. As for when A&M and Texas will finally just make out, track the non-rivalry rivalry here.
As for the Aggies, Good Bull Hunting has its weekly, gorgeous preview for this week's matchup with Mississippi State: The Tailgate.
No, really this IS fine. Some Aggies are asking questions about their offense. They probably shouldn't.
That's not how you do that. Randy Edsall is really bad at quoting movies.
No respect. No respect at all. Clemson has a big home game with Notre Dame Saturday, but fans want you to know they're not strangers to winning big games.
Can anybody stop the Rebels? Ole Miss appears to have a pretty clear path to winning the SEC West.
Not a believer in Michigan? Land-Grant Holy Land has predictions for the rest of the college football season, and they're not buying the Harbaugh Hype.
Dear Frank: Gobbler Country has a message for Frank Beamer.
SO GOTH. Northwestern will wear some special unis for this weekend's game with Minnesota.
Banged up to Bear Down. Arizona could be without both star linebacker Scooby Wright III and quarterback Anu Solomon Saturday night versus Stanford.