Supreme Court questions NCAA’s compensation limits
The Supreme Court’s justices on Wednesday expressed significant questions about the NCAA’s athlete-compensation limits, but they also showed concerns that a case challenging those limits could destroy college sports as they currently exist.
Their comments came during oral argument in a case appealed by the NCAA and 11 major-conference co-defendants after lower courts ruled that the association’s compensation limits violate antitrust trust law and that there should be no nation-wide limits on the education-related benefits athletes playing Division I men’s or women’s basketball or Bowl Subdivision football can receive.
The arguments were heard by teleconference, as has been the high court’s procedure during the COVID-19 pandemic. A ruling is expected later this spring or in early summer.
Among the benefits that would be allowed by the lower courts are cash payments for various academic achievements, scholarships to complete undergraduate or graduate degrees at any school and paid internships after they have completed their collegiate-sports eligibility.
The NCAA’s lawyer, Seth Waxman, contended that legal precedents and the law itself should allow the NCAA to set the compensation rules because the public benefits from having a choice between pro and amateur sports, as the NCAA defines amateur sports.
However, he faced pointed inquiry from nearly all of the justices, with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh asserting that “the antitrust laws should not be a cover for exploitation of the student-athletes.”
Kavanaugh added: “It does seem … schools are conspiring with competitors — agreeing with competitors, let’s say that — to pay no salaries for the workers who are making the school billions of dollars on the theory that consumers want the schools to pay their workers nothing. And that just seems entirely circular and even somewhat disturbing.”
On the other hand, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in questioning the plaintiffs’ attorney, Jeff Kessler, talked about the notion the decision by — and the additional benefits — approved by lower courts in this case could lead more and more legal erosion of any limits on athletes compensation.
There already is a new case under way that not only asks that the NCAA be prevented from having association-wide rules that “restrict the amount of name, image, and likeness compensation available” to athletes but also seeks unspecified damages based on the share of television-rights money and the social media earnings the plaintiffs claim athletes would have received if the NCAA’s current limits on NIL compensation had not existed.
OU’s Reaves declares for NBA Draft
OU guard Austin Reaves is headed to the NBA Draft, he told ESPN.
The 6-foot-5 Reaves led the Sooners with 18.3 points per game, 5.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists this season, becoming the first OU player to lead in all three categories in more than 40 years.
Reaves went out on a high note, with a gritty 27-point effort in the Sooners’ 87-71 second-round NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga.
Reaves arrived at OU as a spot-up 3-point shooter but remade his game in Norman, transforming into an all-around point guard.
Reaves is the third Sooners player to declare for the draft, joining De’Vion Harmon and Kur Kuath. Harmon is a sophomore while Reaves and Kuath were seniors, though all players were giving an extra season of eligibility this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so they could’ve returned.
Brady Manek and Alondes Williams have yet to make their intentions known while freshman Trey Phipps has announced his decision to transfer.
NEW MEXICO: Former Del City star Terry Wilson will play his final year of college football at New Mexico. Wilson started parts of three seasons for Kentucky. New Mexico has seven other quarterbacks on its roster who’ve combined for 20 starts. Wilson is the only player in Kentucky history with at least 3,000 career passing yards (3,436) and 1,000 career rushing yards (1,015).
OKLAHOMA: Sooners golfer Kaitlin Milligan shot a 1-over 73 and was tied for 15th after the first round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur on Wednesday. The top 30 make the final round Saturday at Augusta
UConn’s Paige Bueckers is AP women’s player of the year
UConn guard Paige Bueckers became the first freshman ever to win The Associated Press women’s basketball player of the year award Wednesday.
Bueckers helped lead the Huskies to their 13th consecutive Final Four with 28 points in the regional final win over Baylor on Monday night.
Maryland coach Brenda Frese was honored as the AP’s women’s basketball coach of the year for the second time.
TEXAS A&M: Aaliyah Wilson, the Aggies’ leading scorer this season, announced via Twitter that she is declaring for the 2021 WNBA Draft. Wilson, a former Muskogee star and member of The Oklahoman’s Super 5 team, is the second Aggie to enter the draft, joining senior forward N’dea Jones. Wilson finished the season as the Aggies’ leading scorer with 356 points, adding 165 rebounds, 51 steals and 23 blocks.
LATE TUESDAY: Dawn Staley and South Carolina got the upper hand on Vic Schaefer once again Tuesday night, routing sixth-seeded Texas 62-34 to reach the Final Four. The top-seeded Gamecocks will play Stanford at 5 p.m. Friday. … Lexie Hull had 21 points, Ashten Prechtel scored each of her 16 in the second half and Stanford reached the Final Four by rallying for a 78-63 victory over Louisville late Tuesday night.
Two Pandhandle State rodeo members killed in car crash
Two members of the Panhandle State rodeo team were killed in a rollover car crash last weekend en route to an event in Garden City, Kansas.
Freshman Cinch Bullock of Campo, Colorado, and senior Hadly McCormick of Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, died. A third team member, Ira Dickinson, a junior from Rock Springs, Wyoming, was injured in the crash.
2 more women sue Texans’ Watson
The legal teams representing Deshaun Watson and the women accusing him of sexual misconduct continued their public posturing Tuesday night and early Wednesday, as two more women filed lawsuits against the Houston Texans quarterback.
Watson’s team, led by Rusty Hardin, issued a news release with on-the-record statements from 18 women who say they have previously had massage sessions with Watson and he never acted inappropriately.
Meanwhile, Tony Buzbee, who has filed lawsuits on behalf of Watson’s accusers, reversed course and indicated that his clients do not intend to file reports with police.
Watson, 25, is now facing civil lawsuits in Harris County District Court from a total of 21 unnamed women – including two complaints that became publicly available Wednesday morning.
SEAHAWKS: Former Tulsa Washington High School star Tyler Lockett is sticking around with the Seattle Seahawks, and likely as Russell Wilson’s favorite target, for the foreseeable future.
The Seahawks and Lockett have agreed to a four-year contract extension that includes $37 million guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
Lockett, 28, is coming off a career-best season with 100 receptions for 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Staff and wire reports