The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was recently sued in California in a proposed class action lawsuit claiming that thousands of current and former student athletes were denied cash payments they were entitled to. The suit claims that the NCAA barred the students from receiving payments for academic achievement in violation of U.S. antitrust law.
Two former student athletes filed the complaint against the association which governs college sports across the country.
Supreme Court Ruling May Back This Lawsuit
While offering cash payments to students for academic achievement may sound unconventional, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2021 that the NCAA could not bar payments to student athletes.
The decision was limited to payments related to education and only concerned payments up to $5,900 per year. Nonetheless, the decision changed the landscape for the longstanding debate whether or not payments to student athletes should be permitted. Since the ruling, over 50 schools have started to offer education payments to student athletes.
The NCAA’s Losing Record
This isn’t the first time that the NCAA has found itself in court over student payments, and it likely won’t be the last.
The Association also lost two earlier lawsuits filed in California that ultimately went to trial. In 2014, the NCAA lost an antitrust case that challenged the association’s ability to use the name, image and likeness of student athletes for commercial gain. Despite years of protest, the NCAA finally lifted its ban on athletes being paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals shortly after the 2021 Supreme Court ruling.
The association is also facing a separate federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania that seeks to have student athletes designated as employees of their school, thus entitling them to compensation.
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