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Supreme Court deals blow to the unraveling NCAA model

The Supreme Courtunanimously ruled against the NCAA on Monday, issuing another significant blow to the embattled organization.

Why it matters: The ruling in NCAA vs. Alston chips away at core aspects of amateurism and opens the door for future legal challenges that could upend the NCAA's current business model built on unpaid labor.


  • Reality check: While the Alston case represents another crack in the foundation of college sports, "it is not quite the blow that brings the whole system crashing down," writes the New York Times' Billy Witz.

Details: SCOTUS ruled Monday that the NCAA was violating antitrust law by placing limits on academic-related benefits that schools can provide to student-athletes.

  • Schools can now provide their athletes with unlimited compensation as long as it's connected to education (i.e. laptops, paid internships).
  • More importantly, the ruling suggests that SCOTUS may be open to more substantial legal challenges of NCAA rules in the future.

What they're saying: The court's opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, was limited to academic-related benefits. But Justice Brett Kavanaugh's concurring opinion expanded the scope, arguing that the entire NCAA operation is illegal.

"Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate.
"Law firms cannot conspire to cabin lawyers' salaries in the name of providing legal services out of a 'love of the law.' Hospitals cannot agree to cap nurses' income in order to create a 'purer' form of helping the sick."
Justice Kavanaugh
Data: NCAA; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Between the lines: During one of the most politically divided times in American history, the NCAA has managed to bring both sides of the aisle together as its common enemy.

  • "[The NCAA] assumed conservatism's presumed affinity for the status quo would supersede conservatism's demonstrated affinity for free markets," writes The Athletic's Andy Staples (subscription).
  • "In the process, the schools and the NCAA placed themselves in the middle of a pincer movement between those who historically champion open markets (the right) and those who historically champion workers' rights (the left)."

The big picture: So there's that. Meanwhile, the NCAA is facing an even more pressing issue: Name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation.

  • The organization has been urging Congress to pass a federal bill to govern how student-athletes earn NIL money, but none have passed. In the meantime, 19 states passed their NIL own bills.
  • Six of those bills take effect on July 1, meaning the NCAA has nine days to pass its own national guidelines to ensure uniformity and avoid state-by-state chaos.
  • If they fail to do so, athletes in six states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas — will be able to earn NIL money while the rest of the country can't.

The last word: "It feels like the NCAA is between three rocks and four hard places," Gabe Feldman, a Tulane professor and NIL expert, told SI (subscription). "There are so many forces closing in on them."

Tech companies' money shields them from antitrust action

The tech industry's leading giants are floating on a cushion of record profits in lakes of reserve cash, and all that money makes them just about unsinkable.

Driving the news: Tech's big five — Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft — all report their earnings between Tuesday and Thursday this week. Recent quarters have delivered blowout results for these companies, and many observers expect the same again.

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Vaccine mandates are suddenly much more popular

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American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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