Judge Denies Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Antitrust Case Challenging NCAA Student-Athlete Scholarship Limits

10/09/2014

Class-action suit against NCAA, Pac-12, Big Ten and Big-12 to continue

SEATTLE – A U.S. district court judge today denied defendants’ motion to dismiss a class-action antitrust case filed against the NCAA and its five most powerful members, allowing the case to continue, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.

The suit brought against the NCAA and the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big-12, SEC and ACC Power Conferences claims that these entities have agreed in violation of federal antitrust laws to cap the value of athletic scholarships – known as Grants-in-Aid – despite the fact that the NCAA’s valuation of athletic scholarships remains thousands of dollars below the actual cost of attending school, and far below what the free market would bear, according to the complaint.

“We see this as another major victory for these student-athletes, and will continue to fight for their rights to receive what is owed to them – fair and equitable Grants-in-Aid and compensation,” said Steve Berman, lead attorney representing the class of student-athletes.

The suit was originally filed March 5, 2014 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and seeks to represent former NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) scholarship players who have played from February 2010 to the present, within those conferences.

“The NCAA and its member schools reap millions of dollars off the backs of these student-athletes, and we believe that these players shouldn’t have to struggle in the face of such significant profits,” Berman added. “We want the schools to live up to the same rules of competition as the athletes. The NCAA and its member conferences should adhere to the same principles that they preach, and pay these kids what they are entitled to in a competitive environment.”

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 to typically several thousand dollars less per year, per player, than the actual cost to attend an NCAA school.

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.

Current or former NCAA athletes seeking more information about the case can contact Hagens Berman at 206-623-7292 or email NCAAscholarships@hbsslaw.com.

More information about these issues is available at /cases/ncaa---scholarships.


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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in nine cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List seven times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Find the firm on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/classactionlaw.

Contacts
Ashley Klann
206-268-9363
AshleyK@hbsslaw.com


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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.” 

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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.

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

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