Our last Byte of the year is an important one as a decision in the consolidated Alston/Jenkins trial could come as early as January.
The trial held its final hearing yesterday, December 18, in California, and U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken will decide soon whether scholarship limits imposed by the NCAA violate anti-trust laws.
What are the ramifications of the case?
One possible outcome would allow scholarship decisions to be set at the conference level. With this ruling, each conference could establish its own rules for what their member institutions can offer a student-athlete.
For our athletics departments, a ruling of this sort, in favor of the plaintiffs, could lead to further disparity among institutions. Already, the increasing gap between the Autonomy Five and Group of Five is a major issue with our member ADs.
In fact, in a recent survey, 61 percent of our athletics directors said financial sustainability is their biggest concern in the next five years. Many of our schools have maximized their revenue opportunities yet operating costs keep rising.
With likely appeals, this case could take years to play out but regardless of the decision, this could be a watershed moment for college sports.