NCAA Scholarships Class Action

DEFENDANT NAME: National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Pac-12, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the SEC, the ACC
STOCK SYMBOL:
CASE NUMBER: 4:14-md-02541
CASE NAME:
COURT: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
STATUS: Settled
CLASS PERIOD:
LEAD PLAINTIFF DEADLINE:
DATE FILED: 07/11/14
COURT LOCATION:

CASE UPDATE

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has set the following briefing schedule for the appeal:    

Appellant’s (Objector’s) opening brief due on May 21, 2018. The Objector's Opening brief can be seen here

Appellees’ (Plaintiff Student-athletes’) answering brief due on June 20, 2018. In an effort to speed up the process, Class Counsel filed the Student-athletes’ answering brief early on June 7, 2018.  That answering brief can be seen here.

On June 7, 2018, Class Counsel also filed separate motions with the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to (1) Dismiss the Objector’s Appeal or, in the alternative, to Summarily Affirm the Settlement, and (2) impose Sanctions on the Objector and his Attorney.  Those motions, as well as a Declaration in support can be seen here.

On June 15, 2018, District Court Judge, Claudia Wilken, issued an Order imposing a $5,000 appeal bond on the Objector.  Pursuant to that Order, the Objector had until June 25, 2018 to submit proof to the Court of his satisfaction of the bond requirement or proof of his withdrawal of the appeal.  Judge Wilken’s Order on the bond can be seen here.

On June 17, 2018, the Objector filed an opposition to Class Counsel’s motions to (1) Dismiss the Objector’s Appeal or, in the alternative, to Summarily Affirm the Settlement, and (2) impose Sanctions on the Objector and his Attorney.  That Opposition can be seen here.

On June 22, 2018, Class Counsel filed reply briefs in support of their motions to (1) Dismiss the Objector’s Appeal or, in the alternative, to Summarily Affirm the Settlement, and (2) impose Sanctions on the Objector and his Attorney.  Those reply briefs can be seen here and here.

On June 25, 2018, the Objector filed a Notice that he has posted the appeal bond with the U.S. District Court.  That Notice can be seen here.

Objector’s optional reply brief in support of his appeal (if any) is due on June 29, 2018.

Now that the Objector and his attorney have posted the appeal bond with the U.S. District Court, we must await a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the appeal or on the motions to (1) Dismiss the Objector’s Appeal or, in the alternative, to Summarily Affirm the Settlement, and (2) impose Sanctions on the Objector and his Attorney.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules on over 12,000 appeals each year and currently has a large backlog of pending appeals.  We appreciate your patience as we await a ruling from the Court and we will keep you informed as soon as we know of any ruling.

We have contact information for nearly 80% of class members eligible for payment. To confirm your information, follow these instructions.

Hagens Berman represented former college football players in an antitrust class-action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the NCAA’s most powerful conference members the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big-12, SEC and ACC, claiming that these entities have agreed in violation of national antitrust laws to unlawfully cap the value of athletic scholarships.

Current or former NCAA athletes seeking more information about the case can contact Hagens Berman at 206-623-7292 or Pearson Simon at 415-433-9000. They can also email info@grantinaidsettlement.com.

The class-action case represents former NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) scholarship players who have played from February 2010 to the present within those conferences.

The suit alleges that the NCAA and these five Power Conferences have systematically colluded to disrupt the free market and deprive FBS football players of the full economic benefits of their labor. According to the complaint, NCAA rules artificially depress the value of athletic scholarships – known as Grants-in-Aid or GIAs – to typically several thousand dollars less per year, per player, than the actual cost to attend an NCAA school.

Named plaintiff – Nick Kindler – played on the West Virginia football team from 2009 to 2013. He played in dozens of games there, including as a starter in numerous games during his senior season, having overcome injuries including a torn labrum in his left shoulder during his freshman year, requiring surgery and ongoing rehabilitation. Kindler is now recovering from a second shoulder surgery due to an injury in his final season. While at West Virginia, plaintiff was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, the Academic All-Big 12 Football First Team, the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll and the Dean’s List.

Plaintiff Kindler received yearly grant-in-aid scholarships from WVU that were intended to cover all tuition and registration fees, required course-related fees, room, meals and required textbooks, but was significantly lower than the roughly $40,000 annual cost of attendance. The complaint alleges that the aggregate amount of the shortfall experienced by Plaintiff Kindler, made up through the use of loans and personal funds, is estimated to be at least $15,000.

The complaint alleges that in a market unrestricted by NCAA and member restrictions on GIAs, schools would compete for heavily recruited athletes like Kindler and pay at least the full cost of attendance. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prohibit any agreement on capping GIAs below the cost of attendance and past damages for players who had to pay the difference between their scholarship and the cost of attendance as a result of the illegal agreement.

The complaint alleges that each of the five Power Conference Defendants has stated that they would implement an increase in GIAs, and that every FBS player would likely receive additional compensation above the cost of attendance, if they were not bound by collusive agreements with other Division I schools.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that the defendants, “repeatedly claim powerlessness, year after year, to change their lucrative status quo, because smaller NCAA members won’t agree to the change. Were the Defendant Conferences to act unilaterally, each would raise the GIA cap above the current levels.”

The suit was filed on behalf of FBS football players by lead attorneys Steve Berman and Bruce Simon. Berman is the managing partner of Hagens Berman and the lead attorney in related cases Owens v. NCAA in which football players are challenging the NCAA’s neglects to protect student-athletes from concussions, and Keller v. NCAA, in which student-athletes are challenging the NCAA's ability to sell their likeness to video-game publishers.

Simon is a lead partner at Pearson Simon, and one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys in O’Bannon v. NCAA, where student-athletes are challenging the NCAA’s restraints on players sharing in the licensing of their images in products such as live broadcasts.

The complaint requests past damages to compensate class members for the difference between the value of scholarships and the actual cost of attending school, and also requests an injunction to enjoin defendants from continuing to enforce their anticompetitive rules. Additionally, the complaint requests the appointment of an External Antitrust Compliance Monitor to ensure that defendants conduct themselves in compliance with the antitrust law, and to provide a mechanism for future judicial oversight of defendants’ operations, as was recently approved in the antitrust litigation captioned United States v. Apple, Inc., case number 1:12-CV-2826, filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.

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In re: National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletic Grant-in-aid Cap Antitrust Litigation


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Case Timeline

06/15/18: CASE UPDATE

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has set the following briefing schedule for the appeal:    

Appellant’s (Objector’s) opening brief due on May 21, 2018. The Objector's Opening brief can be seen here

Appellees’ (Plaintiff Student-athletes’) answering brief due on June 20, 2018. In an effort to speed up the process, Class Counsel filed the Student-athletes’ answering brief early on June 7, 2018.  That answering brief can be seen here.

On June 7, 2018, Class Counsel also filed separate motions with the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to (1) Dismiss the Objector’s Appeal or, in the alternative, to Summarily Affirm the Settlement, and (2) impose Sanctions on the Objector and his Attorney.  Those motions, as well as a Declaration in support can be seen here.

On June 15, 2018, District Court Judge, Claudia Wilken, issued an Order imposing a $5,000 appeal bond on the Objector.  Pursuant to that Order, the Objector had until June 25, 2018 to submit proof to the Court of his satisfaction of the bond requirement or proof of his withdrawal of the appeal.  Judge Wilken’s Order on the bond can be seen here.

On June 17, 2018, the Objector filed an opposition to Class Counsel’s motions to (1) Dismiss the Objector’s Appeal or, in the alternative, to Summarily Affirm the Settlement, and (2) impose Sanctions on the Objector and his Attorney.  That Opposition can be seen here.

On June 22, 2018, Class Counsel filed reply briefs in support of their motions to (1) Dismiss the Objector’s Appeal or, in the alternative, to Summarily Affirm the Settlement, and (2) impose Sanctions on the Objector and his Attorney.  Those reply briefs can be seen here and here.

On June 25, 2018, the Objector filed a Notice that he has posted the appeal bond with the U.S. District Court.  That Notice can be seen here.

Objector’s optional reply brief in support of his appeal (if any) is due on June 29, 2018.

Now that the Objector and his attorney have posted the appeal bond with the U.S. District Court, we must await a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the appeal or on the motions to (1) Dismiss the Objector’s Appeal or, in the alternative, to Summarily Affirm the Settlement, and (2) impose Sanctions on the Objector and his Attorney.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules on over 12,000 appeals each year and currently has a large backlog of pending appeals.  We appreciate your patience as we await a ruling from the Court and we will keep you informed as soon as we know of any ruling.

01/31/18: Plaintiffs Seek Bond Against Objector

The class has asked the court to issue a $78,893 appeal bond against Darrin Duncan, the only person out of 53,748 class members to object to the $208 million deal. Read the court document here »

“There are over 40,000 student athletes ready to receive an average check of $4,000 and they are being held up by one objector who is represented by a professional objector," counsel for the athletes Steven Berman told Law360. "The objection is frivolous and this lawyer should be held accountable for the delay, that’s why we brought the motion.” 

11/17/17: Federal Judge Granted Final Approval of $208M Settlement

A federal judge has granted final approval of a $208 million settlement on behalf of tens of thousands of current and former NCAA Division 1 student-athletes, ending a novel 2014 antitrust class-action lawsuit stating the NCAA and its power conferences deprived the class of the full cost of attendance and illegally capped scholarships, according to Hagens Berman. Read the press release

“We are pleased with the settlement and look forward to distributing the fund to student athletes early next year,” said Steve Berman, Co-Lead Interim Class Counsel. Affected class members can visit the claims site for FAQs about how to file their claim, notice of the settlement and distribution of funds.

04/07/17: Settlement Pending Court Approval

With the $208.6 million settlement pending court approval in the NCAA grant-in-aid class-action lawsuit, the parties have made available a claims website for affected student-athletes.

03/21/17: $208 Million Settlement Preliminarily Approved

On Mar. 21, 2017, a federal judge preliminarily approved a $208 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by student-athletes against the NCAA alleging it unlawfully capped athletic scholarship values.

Direct notice mailing to affected class members is to begin on Aug. 21, 2017.

Read the latest press release for more information »

02/03/17: Statement from Steve Berman on $208M NCAA Antitrust Settlement

This is a watershed settlement – recovering nearly all of the damages in the case. We’re incredibly pleased with this settlement that brings student-athletes the payment and recognition they deserve. The range of average distribution for class members who played his or her sport for four years at schools who we have shown would have paid more to these kids is currently estimated to be between $5,000 to $7,500. In this area of multimillion-dollar coaches' salaries, and billion-dollar deals and endorsements, it’s time for the NCAA to treat the athletes fairly who make this possible. Only after we filed our case in 2014 did the NCAA amend its bylaws to allow colleges to provide up to the cost of attendance in athletically related aid. And when the court approves the settlement we have reached, student-athletes will finally be getting their fair share of the billions the NCAA rakes in each year in profits from their talent. This settlement is a major victory for student athletes nationwide.”

- Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney representing the class of student-athletes 

 

08/05/16: Statement from Steve Berman

"The student athletes who are part of this class are pleased that the court agrees we can go forward and challenge the NCAA’s unlawful restraints on the aid that can go to student athletes. In this area of multimillion-dollar coaches' salaries, and billion dollar deals and endorsements, it’s time to treat the athletes fairly who make this possible. We aren’t trying to get them cash, but absent the illegal restraints, schools would offer these athletes educationally related benefits to compete for their playing for a given school."
— Steve W. Berman

05/31/16: Athletes Respond

05/31/16: Athletes have responded to the latest attempt by the NCAA to stop the Alston/Jenkins scholarship case from continuing. more »

12/04/15: Judge Grants Class Certification in NCAA Scholarships Class-Action Lawsuit

A U.S. District Court Judge today granted certification to three classes of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 student-athletes, allowing a first-of-its-kind antitrust class action to continue against the NCAA and the NCAA’s most powerful conference members the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big-12, SEC and ACC, according to law firm, Hagens Berman.

10/08/15: Statement from Steve Berman

“Our Alston v. NCAA class action was the first case filed that addressed the issue of proper compensation for college athletes, separate from the image rights cases that we also started with the Keller v. Electronic Arts and NCAA litigation. We are pleased that the Jenkins case attorneys agree with our approach and are joining together with us. The NCAA had tried to use a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, and told the Court that the cases can’t proceed together. The NCAA has failed. Upon court approval, the two groups of attorneys will formally join together to seek fair economic treatment for college athletes. We consider it the antitrust dream team.” — Steve Berman, Managing Partner, Hagens Berman

06/04/14: Big Win for Student Athletes

"A big win in our fight for student athletes today. The MDL panel, over the objection of the NCAA and all of the Power Conferences, has ordered the cases to be consolidated and heard before Judge Wilken who has years of experience with these issues from the Keller and O’Bannon cases." — Steve Berman, Managing Partner, Hagens Berman