NCAA Scholarships FAQ

Why aren’t you also representing men’s Division I basketball players? They also generate a huge amount of money for others.

Following our very detailed and extensive investigation, done in consultation with economists, we also have prepared an additional, companion class-action case, in which we will be representing a proposed class of men’s Division I basketball players. We expect to file it in the near future.

Why aren’t you seeking to represent other athletes besides men’s FBS football players and men’s Division I basketball players?
We have focused our initial efforts on the areas with the highest chance for success in obtaining class action status. That is a very important determination that the Court will need to make later in the case. FBS football and men’s Division I basketball generate revenues that dwarf those produced in all other sports. Those are the areas in which we would expect to see the most competition concerning financial aid and awards, if it were not for the NCAA’s anticompetitive rules as detailed in our complaint.

Additionally, we believe that success in the present case is likely to have related benefits for those participating in other sports. We will continue to evaluate additional possible complaints.

If you have relevant information regarding other sports that you would like to share, please contact us at [email protected].

Why aren’t you representing women athletes in this case?
Please see the above answer. We are very proud to be representing women athletes (for example, women soccer players) in the concussions class action litigation that we are leading against the NCAA. And again, please contact us if you have any relevant information that you would like to share.

How is this case different than the White vs. NCAA class action that settled a few years ago?
In 2008, the NCAA settled a class action case called White vs. NCAA after the court ruled against the NCAA on several key issues. Our firm was not involved in that case. The plaintiffs in that case made allegations that were similar to some of the allegations in our complaint. The plaintiffs sought to recover the difference between the value of an athletic scholarship (also known as a “grant-in-aid” or “GIA”) and the actual cost of attending a school. That case only covered players that played at any time between Feb. 17, 2002 and the end of the 2007-2008 academic year. Our case covers players that played between February 2010 and the present. Under the federal antitrust law, plaintiffs generally are limited to seeking four years’ worth of damages, which is why we set eligibility in February 2010.

The official White settlement website is located here: www.ncaaclassaction.com.

If you win, does that mean NCAA member schools or conferences have to annually pay money or a salary to every FBS player?
No. It means that schools and conferences would abide by the same rules that all other business in this country must abide by, specifically, the federal antitrust law, the Sherman Act. This would mean schools and conferences could not collude with their competitors. Schools and conferences would do what all other businesses do – make independent decisions about how to compete while staying in business. Thousands of businesses make these independent decisions every day. We are confident that the NCAA and its members can also do so, once their present practices are declared unlawful.

Is this a “pay for play” or “pay to play” case?
Please see the above answer. We believe that the defenders of the status quo use these phrases in very calculated ways, to imply something dirty or inherently illegal. They don’t use those phrases in negative ways in regards to how everyone else makes money in the college sports enterprise, like “pay to coach” or “pay to be a conference commissioner,” or “pay to be college president.” On a related note, you may be surprised to learn how and why the NCAA created the term “student-athlete.” For more information, please visit www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/308643/.

So if you win, do athletes still need to go to class, or are they just going to be like professional athletes?
We are not challenging in any way the NCAA’s eligibility rules regarding academic requirements. If we win, FBS football players would still be required to abide by all NCAA, conference and school academic requirements.

If you are successful, are you going to ruin college sports?
No. When businesses are forced to compete, they innovate. You might be interested in how Google’s General Counsel, a former college football player, described how innovative thinking and treating college athletes fairly can go together. Link: http://law.scu.edu/wp-content/uploads/Drummond-speech.pdf.

Additionally, it was just a few years ago that professional athletes were not allowed to compete in the Olympics. Now they can, and the Olympics are more popular than ever. As it turns out, the public obviously doesn’t support athletes living in poverty.

We are confident that college sports can and will continue to thrive and to innovate just as all other businesses must do. Additionally, we are confident that the NCAA and its members have many capable individuals to balance their budgets and expenses, as they do every day. Surely they will continue to manage their businesses in responsible ways and not spend themselves out of business.

How does this case relate to the union efforts of Northwestern?
This case is a different route, but the goals are the same – to recognize the unfair circumstances surrounding the NCAA and its players. We support their efforts to unionize college players.