The Supreme Court Rules to More Fairly Compensate Student-Athletes, Honoring the Work of Long-time RPJ Client and Friend Sonny Vaccaro

On Monday, June 21, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the NCAA in the case of “National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston,” entitling many elite student-athletes to additional scholarships and education-related compensations—a decision that honors the work of long-time RPJ client and friend Sonny Vaccaro.

Mr. Vaccaro, most known for signing Michael Jordan to his first shoe deal with Nike, Inc., began advocating for the fair compensation of college athletes after his successful career as a sports marketing executive. This long-awaited decision comes as yet another courtroom victory for Vaccaro, who’s inspired much of the current legislation regarding NCAA compensation rules and regulations.

Vaccaro is also credited for influencing Ed O’Bannon, former UCLA basketball player and starter on their 1995 championship-winning team, to lead a class action antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, which resulted in the ruling that the organization’s athlete compensation restrictions had violated antitrust laws and culminated in schools being allowed to offer more cost-inclusive scholarships to student-athletes, as well as deposit as much as $5,000 into trusts for eligible individual athletes annually in exchange for use of their names, images and likenesses (NIL).

He believes the Supreme Court’s recent verdict may foreshadow revenue-share arrangements between athletes and schools in which elite student-athletes are compensated more directly and favorably for their NIL as opposed to corporate shoe companies distributing large dividends to NCAA institutions.

Congratulations to the many student-athletes who will benefit from this decision, and to all those, like Mr. Vaccaro, who work diligently to ensure these hard-earned rights.

Sonny VaccaroRead the Sportico report here.