- Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
- Area(s) of Law: Antitrust
- Date Filed: December 16, 2020
- Case #: 20-512
- Judge(s)/Court Below: 958 F.3d 1239 (9th Cir. 2020)
- Full Text Opinion
Respondents brought this anti-trust action, claiming that Petitioner’s ceiling on student-athlete “education-related compensation and benefits” (e.g., graduation awards) was unlawful. 15 U.S.C. 1. The District Court analyzed the controversy under the three-step “rule of reason.” The court found (1) that the ceiling was anti-competitive; (2) that the ceiling nevertheless possessed “pro-competitive effects” because it improves consumer choice by preserving differences between collegiate and professional sports; and (3) that the limits were “more restrictive than necessary.” The court thus held that Petitioner is “prohibit[ed]… from limiting education-related benefits.” 375 F.Supp.3d 1058, 1062. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, reasoning that Petitioner did not meet its “heavy burden” of justifying its anti-competitive rules. 958 F.3d 1239, 1257. Petitioner argues that the Ninth Circuit’s decision is inconsistent with the Court’s precedent. Specifically, Petitioner argues the lower courts erred in adopting a “least restrictive alternative” approach to the third-step. Petitioner further argues that their compensation limits were justified by the legitimate procompetitive purpose to preserve college sports.