Dave Portnoy slams ‘joke’ NCAA, argues college athletes should be paid ahead of SCOTUS ruling

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You can count Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy among those who strongly believe that college athletes deserve to be paid for the revenue their game-playing generates.

The anti-Fauci sports guru appeared on Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co” Wednesday to discuss an upcoming Supreme Court ruling over whether the National Collegiate Athletic Association may restrict the compensation of college athletes.

Portnoy, who described the NCAA as a “mafia” that “everybody hates,” staunchly believes the NCAA should lose the power to force this restriction.

What other profession do they limit your income-earning potential? … If you’re very good or the best at what you can do and you can make money, as far as I know that’s the only profession in the world where they limit it,” he said.

The NCAA is the mafia. They’re one of the few organizations that nobody likes. Everybody hates them. The NCAA is a joke. I don’t know how it’s legal, but yeah of course they should be [paid].  If you are very good and can make money on your name, it shouldn’t matter how old you are.”

Listen to his remarks below:

The case is ostensibly about anti-trust laws.

“The question in front of the court is whether the NCAA deserves special relief from normal antitrust rules in order to protect its educational mission and preserve a tradition of amateurism in college sports. The court is expected to make a ruling sometime in late spring or early summer,” according to ESPN.

What this translates to is whether or not the NCAA can prevent colleges from reimbursing their athletes with more than just meager scholarships.

“The case comes amid growing calls for greater student compensation, especially in those profitable sports like Division I basketball and football. Current rules do not allow students to be paid to play, and scholarship money and other benefits are strictly capped,” Fox News notes.

On Wednesday the justices heard arguments in the case for the first time.

“The justices heard 95 minutes of oral arguments over whether the NCAA – intercollegiate sports’ main governing body – is using its anti-trust protections to illegally cap non-cash ‘education-based benefits’ for student-athletes,” as noted by Fox News.

“It is the first time the high court is considering the NCAA’s business model in nearly four decades. The very future of college sports – and the big money for many schools that come with it – could be at stake.”

According to reports, the justices were brutal in their questioning — a fact that inspired a great deal of mockery aimed at the NCAA:

Portnoy for his part seemed confident the Supreme Court will rule against the NCAA. He also appeared to believe that the NCAA itself is aware of this inevitable outcome.

“I think the NCAA is already starting to take steps towards that,” he said.

Major steps will be needed because a change in its compensation scheme will engender paradigm-switching results.

“It will drastically alter the landscape of everything. The NCAA has had this monopoly over people. … From a fan perspective I don’t know that it’s the best. It’s already been transition rivalries and things that people like are going to be in jeopardy, but when you think about it logically, of course, if people are making money off you, you should be allowed to make money, no doubt about it,” he said.

During Wednesday’s SCOTUS hearing, some of the justices reportedly expressed concern about the NCAA’s policies:

Justice Samuel Alito: “The argument is they are recruited, they’re used up, and then they’re cast aside without even a college degree. So they [critics] say, how can this be defended in the name of amateurism?”

Justice Elena Kagan: “Why shouldn’t we think of it in just that kind of way, that these are competitors, all getting together with total market power, fixing prices?”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh: “The antitrust laws should not be a cover for exploitation of the student-athletes, so that is a concern, an overarching concern here… Schools are conspiring with competitors, to pay no salaries to the workers who are making the schools billions of dollars.”

Others reportedly expressed concerns about a ruling against the NCAA essentially destroying college sports:

Chief Justice John Roberts: “It’s like a game of Jenga. You’ve got this nice solid block that protects the sort of product the schools want to provide, and you pull out one log and then another and everything’s fine, then another and another and all of a sudden the whole thing’s come – comes crashing down.”

Justice Stephen Breyer: “This is not an ordinary product… I worry a lot about judges getting into the business of deciding how amateur sports should be run.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor: “How do we know we are not destroying the game as it exists?… Any fix would come after the fact, after amateurism has been destroyed in college sports. How do we ensure that doesn’t happen?”

What’s interesting is that the justices’ questions on this issue cannot be classified as liberal or conservative, because as seen above, each side had a mix of both.

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Vivek Saxena

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