The lawsuit, building atop a recent Supreme Court case, seeks additional compensation for all former and current Division I athletes.
Attorneys have filed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA and its five wealthiest college sports conferences, demanding significant compensation for current and former student athletes.
According to ABC News, the lawsuit was filed in a California-based federal court on Tuesday.
The plaintiffs named in the complaint include Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, who now plays with the California Panthers, and former Auburn University track star Keira McCarrell.
However, the lawsuit seeks “triple damages” for all current and former Division I student athletes.
ABC News reports that the defendants include the NCAA, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern Conference.
The complaint, notes ABC News, was filed by the same attorneys who convinced another federal court to compel schools to provide student athletes with up to $6,000 in academic benefits.
A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).While the NCAA appealed that ruling, the Supreme Court ruled against the sports organization in 2021.
Steven Berman, an attorney for the student athletes, commented on the earlier claims against the NCAA.
“Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Alston, dozens of Division I schools have announced that they will be providing $5,980 academic awards to athletes across all sports,” Berman said in a statement. “Thousands of female and male athletes, including many in sports other than football and basketball, will directly benefit from this action aimed at recovering the monetary awards, of which the NCAA illegally deprived them.”
Jeffrey Kessler, another attorney litigating the case, said that the lawsuit intends to extend the same academic benefits to student athletes who had been denied compensation in the past.
“While the injunction striking down the NCAA’s restrictions on education-related compensation, which was unanimously affirmed by the Supreme Court in Alston, unlocked life-changing benefits for NCAA Division I athletes moving forward, it did not rectify the harm suffered by thousands of Division I athletes who were unlawfully prevented from receiving education-related compensation before the injunction was issued,” Kessler said. “Plaintiffs aim to recover triple damages for those injuries here.”
Sports Illustrated notes that some college athletics analysts believe that the costs of litigation compensation-related claims could cause the NCAA to collapse.
However, Kessler told Sports Illustrated that these allegations are “nonsensical,” citing NCAA’s enormous revenues.
The Big Ten, Kessler said, recently signed a media rights contract that would eventually yield profits exceeding $1 billion per year.
“The collective revenues for the Power 5 conferences and NCAA every year is larger than the annual revenues of any sport in the U.S. except for the NFL. They are higher than the revenues of the NBA, MLB and NHL,” Kessler told Sports Illustrated. “This is not about crippling the NCAA. It’s about economic justice for their athletes.”
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