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Tip-off between the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and the North Carolina Tar Heels during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in 2016. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear the NCAA's appeal of lower court rulings that found the association violated antitrust laws by placing limits on education-related compensation for athletes.

Why it matters: The rulings expanded the range of education-related benefits student-athletes could receive. The NCAA claims this "effectively created a pay-for-play system for all student-athletes, allowing them to be paid both 'unlimited' amounts for participating in 'internships'" and an additional $5,600 or more per year of eligibility.

The big picture: The decision to hear the cases "comes amid broader national efforts to overhaul college athletics," the Wall Street Journal notes.

  • California last September passed a bill to allow student-athletes in the state to get paid for their name, image and likeness.
  • Lawmakers across the country have introduced similar bills.

What's next: The court will likely hear arguments in the spring, and a ruling is expected to come by the end of June.

  • The court will hear the two cases — American Athletic Conference v. Alston, and National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston — together.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Jan 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the threat posed by China. But as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.