Judge says NCAA athletes can pursue class action lawsuit seeking over $1.3B

November 7, 2023 / Athletic Administration
A judge has ruled that NCAA student-athletes can move forward with a class action lawsuit against the NCAA that accuses the collegiate athletic governing body of depriving student-athletes of billions of dollars in compensation for commercial use of their name, image, and likeness.

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken certified three classes of current former student-athletes in the NCAA cases, including a monetary damages class exposing the NCAA to more than $1.3 billion in claims.

class actionA recent story from Reuters detailed the class-action lawsuit by the NCAA student-athletes. Below is an excerpt from the Reuters article.

The plaintiffs said the classes comprise more than 184,000 members who played men’s football and basketball, women’s basketball and other sports for schools in the NCAA’s Division I, the top tier for U.S. college athletics.

The students accuse the NCAA and its conferences of conspiring to restrict payments to athletes for television broadcasts, video games and other revenue sources.

The NCAA had argued that there was no “legal or factual support” for granting the students class-action status. The NCAA’s attorneys argued among other things that there was no market — a necessary part of antitrust cases — for students’ “name, image and likeness” in television broadcasts.

In a statement, the NCAA disagreed with the ruling and said name, image and likeness (NIL) is “highly specific” and not appropriate for class-action treatment. The NCAA said it “fully supports all student-athletes profiting from their NIL rights.”

Co-lead plaintiffs’ attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Steven Berman in a statement called the decision “a huge step forward” and said the case “has the potential to bring economic justice and fairness to the big business of college sports.”

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A trial is scheduled for January 2025 in the litigation, which began in 2020 over the NCAA’s refusal to allow college athletes to make any money for their name, image and likeness.

To read the full story from Reuters about the NCAA lawsuit, click here