Student-Athletes Reach $208 Million Settlement with NCAA over Scholarship Antitrust Claims
Lawsuit will bring estimated average payout of $5,000 - $7,500 to each class member
SAN FRANCISCO – A monumental $208 million settlement has been reached on behalf of approximately 40,000 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 student-athletes in an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, alleging that it violated national laws in unlawfully capping the value of athletic scholarships or Grants-in-Aid (GIAs), according to Hagens Berman.
The range of average distribution for class members who played his or her sport for four years is currently estimated to be approximately $5,000 to $7,500. If the proposed settlement is approved by the court, each student-athlete will be directly notified and a check mailed to him or her, with no claim form required and no right of any reversion of funds to defendants.
“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,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney representing the class of student-athletes. “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.”
The first-of-its-kind antitrust class action brought against the NCAA in 2014 alleges that the NCAA and these five power conferences have systematically colluded to disrupt the free market and deprive NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football players of the full economic benefits of their labor. The lawsuit argues that without this antitrust collusion, NCAA member schools would gladly compete for student-athletes’ attendance and talent by at least providing the full cost of attendance.
The settlement affects approximately 40,000 Division I collegiate athletes who played men’s or women’s basketball, or FBS football between Mar. 5, 2010 and the date of preliminary approval of the settlement, and who received from an NCAA member institution for at least one academic term (such as a semester or quarter) (1) a full athletics GIA required by NCAA rules to be set at a level below the cost of attendance, and/or (2) an otherwise full athletics GIA.
The motion for preliminary approval of the settlement, filed Feb. 3, 2017 states, “The agreement is the result of extensive litigation and arm’s length negotiations between the parties… As this Court well knows, antitrust matters against the NCAA involve unique arguments, have had narrow historical success, and the NCAA has been willing to devote significant resources to vigorously defending them, including on appeal. Thus, not only is the size of the monetary settlement a major benefit to the class, the likelihood of near-term payout is also significant.”
The same court previously certified a class in In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation (later titled, O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association), a case also brought by Hagens Berman.
“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,” Berman said. “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.”
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