In the News

‘Not insignificant by any means’: KU Jayhawks leaders on court’s NCAA antitrust ruling

Wichita Eagle | Gary Bedore

The United States Supreme Court’s 9-0 ruling Monday that the NCAA violated antitrust rules in blocking education-related aid for student-athletes constitutes “a positive step in trying to come to a conclusion in what our sport will potentially look like moving forward,” Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self said Monday.

Self, in speaking on the “Courtside With (Seth) Greenberg and (Dan) Dakich” podcast, added that the highest court’s guidance was welcomed because “as you know, we’re in flux. We don’t have any idea what’s going on.”

The Supreme Court’s action on Monday comes as name, image and likeness rules — ones that will allow student-athletes to make money off through promotions — are expected to be addressed again by the NCAA this week.

Six states are storming toward July 1 implementation of laws allowing student-athletes to make money off their own names. NCAA President Mark Emmert has said the organization will pass some sort of ruling, maybe temporary, that will put schools in all states on the same recruiting playing field, hopefully by July 1.

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling decreed that the NCAA can no longer limit student-athletes’ acquisition of things such as scientific or musical equipment, postgraduate scholarships, tutoring, academic awards and paid internships.

Athletes will be able to receive these things that address the academic costs of being a student-athlete.

“I think it was anticipated that this could happen. I believe that this ruling kind of makes inevitable, even more obvious (that) certainly we’re not putting the genie back in the bottle or the toothpaste back in the tube,” Self said.

Indeed, the current model of student-athletes receiving only tuition, books, room and board and meals is soon to be replaced.

“I think with this ruling — and I could be wrong on this because I’m not an attorney obviously — but with this ruling it’s going to set some guidelines I would think that now, with what happens with the NIL, it’s all going to be based on what we could withstand in court,” Self said.

“I think that was probably the case beforehand. This certainly changes what was viewed as amateurism and the model that it presented,” Self added.

KU athletic director Travis Goff at Monday’s KU Athletics Board meeting, acknowledged that the Supreme Court ruling “invalidates a portion of the NCAA’s amateurism rules. It’s not insignificant by any means, but I think it’s important also to note that this only speaks to the education-related benefits.

“There’s some differentiating factors to keep in mind, and some easy examples are postgrad internship opportunities, laptops — technology and things that support our student-athletes’ efforts in academics and in the classroom — and that’s the realm in which this has a direct implication,” Goff added.

This ruling means all college athletic departments will be paying for some things student-athletes need that haven’t been paid for by schools in the past.

“Some of the natural sentiment, which is probably a fair sentiment to have,” Goff stated at the board meeting, “is that this might have some fraying or continued fraying of just general amateurism philosophies for the NCAA and in college athletics.

“I think that just remains to be seen as we move ahead. Certainly related, I think NIL, frankly, has a great opportunity to provide something that’s necessary, in terms of access and some monetary compensation for deserving student-athletes, of which all of whom are deserving, quite frankly. It also has a chance to maybe stem the tide a little bit with this anti-amateurism momentum. And so I think that the developments in NIL can be a positive when taken into account with the (Supreme Court) outcome from today that keeps it in the education-related realm and then allows us to find the right path forward in name, image and likeness,” Goff added.

On July 1, six states whose governing bodies have ruled in favor of student-athletes making money off their own name, image and likeness, will allow their state’s college athletes to start making money off things such as promotional appearances and advertising of products.

Kansas government officials have not passed a law involving NIL, meaning athletes in the state of Kansas (and other states) will be at the mercy of NCAA president Emmert, who has indicated the organization will have some type of ruling (maybe temporary) put in place by July 1. He said he welcomes Congress’ help on the matter, to put a national ruling in place regarding NIL.

“Something I think (that is) well-documented … (the) state of Kansas did not successfully pass a bill out of the Senate for NIL. We won’t overreact to that, because I think there’s still so many unknowns for those that do have states that have passed that bill, and of course for many others who have not passed that that bill,” Goff said Monday.

“Senator (Jerry) Moran has been a leader on that front, and we think so much of what he outlined in his bill I think is very applicable, and I think really, finds the balance in holding true to a model that does keep education and the degree at the forefront, but also provides rightful access to some of the monetary benefits to student-athletes. At the end of the day, we’re still in limbo,” Goff stated, repeating Self’s sentiments.

It should be noted the Supreme Court’s ruling Monday did not address the issue of whether student-athletes can be paid salaries by schools.

“We’re getting into late June with some of these states’ bills being activated come July. This week should provide potentially a clarifying point, which is when the Division I Council meets, and we hope votes on some action from an NCAA perspective, but it remains to be seen what those implications mean for any of us and to what extent that wildly impacts NIL,” Goff said.

“In the meantime, we don’t sit idle, and we make sure as an athletic department and a university that we’re taking a proactive approach to preparing for what will lie ahead with NIL, but also finding I think a philosophy around NIL that really fits our value system here at KU, and then making sure we can really define that and educate our coaches, our staff and our student-athletes, when those doors are opened up.”

Self said he has addressed the issue of players’ making money off their own NIL during the recruiting process with players and parents of players.

“I don’t know if it’s part of the pitch, but it’s certainly part of the education that’s going on,” Self said on Monday’s Greenberg/Dakich podcast, “because I really don’t know exactly how to pitch it yet. I tell them, ‘This is what’s going to happen. This is what it potentially could look like.’ We haven’t been set with the guidelines in exactly what the guardrails will be.”

Self said the way NIL could work is … “We do believe schools cannot actively be involved in this. We believe that they (schools and/or student-athletes) could have representation that could do this for them (student-athletes).

“As long as it is not conflicting with the schools’ already-in-place contract, it could be pretty much free game. You can do whatever you like. (However) it’d be hard for an individual (student-athlete) to do some type of sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola if the university is a Pepsi provider. It could be the same with shoe companies. We don’t know about restaurants. We don’t know about dry cleaners. We have a pretty good understanding on what 100,000 followers on Instagram would mean compared to somebody with 500,000 compared to somebody with 10,000. Everything is abstract. We are not using it to sell. We are saying, ‘Whatever it (NIL) is, we’ll maximize it,” Self added.