NCAA Scholarships Class Action
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 has 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.
We will keep you informed as soon as we know the outcome of Judge Wilken’s Order on the bond.
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 email@example.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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