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