$208.7 Million Settlement Reached In NCAA MDL

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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After more than a year of negotiations, a $208.7 million settlement has been reached in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) antitrust multidistrict litigation. On February 3, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking preliminary approval of the settlement agreement.

The suit, which was originally filed in March 2014, claims the NCAA colluded with 11 conferences in an antitrust conspiracy, which capped off the maximum grant-in-aid a student athlete could receive. Most athletes were therefore awarded grants that would only cover part of their tuition. Plaintiffs allege that this alleged collusion disrupted the free market and that the student athlete aid cap put severe financial burdens on players while attending school, depriving them of “the full economic benefits of their labor”. Affected conferences include Pac-12 Conference, The Big Ten Conference Inc., The Big 12 Conference Inc., Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Athletic Conference Inc., Mountain West Conference, Sun Belt Conference and Western Athletic Conference.

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Under the proposed settlement, the $208.7 million would be put into a settlement fund that is financed entirely by the NCAA. Once the settlement gains full court approval, class members will be notified in the mail and then will be sent a settlement check shortly thereafter. No claim forms need to be submitted. Plaintiffs estimate that, on average, class members will receive around $6,800. The class is made up of current and former collegiate basketball and football players who have played the sport for a full four years at a college level and who were denied a grant for the full cost of tuition.

The case is: In re: National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletic Grant-in-Aid Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 4:14-md-02541, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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