Three College Athletes File Antitrust Lawsuit Against NCAA and Five Conferences Over “Pay for Play” Restrictions
A new legal challenge has been added to the NCAA’s already extensive caseload, as three college athletes have filed a lawsuit against the association and its five most powerful conferences. Duke football player Dewayne Carter, Stanford soccer player Nya Harrison, and TCU basketball player Sedona Prince filed a 70-page complaint in federal court, claiming that the rules prohibiting schools from paying their athletes violate antitrust law.
The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California federal court, seeks an injunction to prevent the NCAA from enforcing rules that prohibit “pay for play” compensation for athletes. The athletes are also seeking damages for past payments they would have received if the current rules were not in place.
Attorneys for the athletes stated that the rules prohibiting athletes from sharing in the massive revenues they help to generate are harming all college athletes. They are standing up for all college athletes to correct this injustice.
The three athletes are represented by Jeffrey Kessler and Steve Berman, who were successful in suing the NCAA to remove restrictions on academic-related payments in the Alston case, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2021. They have also been granted class status for a different antitrust case (House v. NCAA) seeking billions of dollars that they claim the NCAA cost former athletes due to old rules that restricted athletes from making money through endorsement deals.
The lawsuit comes just two days after NCAA president Charlie Baker announced a new proposal that would allow schools to sign NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals directly with their athletes and share significant amounts of money for their players through an “enhanced educational trust fund.” Baker’s proposal does not allow schools to pay athletes specifically for their athletic performance.
Baker and other leaders in college sports have been asking Congress to create a federal law that would prevent athletes from filing antitrust lawsuits like the case filed this week. They believe that getting such a law from Congress would be an important part in getting his broader proposal for the future of college sports put into place.
The NCAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.
The pending House case based on NIL payments is scheduled to go to trial in January 2025.