NCAA Fights Consolidation in Anti-trust Scholarship Cases
The NCAA, facing legal battles on several fronts regarding student-athlete compensation, is fighting to keep multiple class action suits from being centralized.
Former student-athlete, Shawne Alston, filed a lawsuit in Oakland, CA, back in March, 2014, claiming the NCAA has violated federal anti-trust laws by fixing scholarship awards below the actual full cost of attendance. Many students, including Alston, need to take out loans in addition to their scholarships to cover their actual full cost of attendance because registration fees and other daily living expenses are typically not covered. A recent study found that the average difference is $3,200.
Michael Jenkins, a current student-athlete, brought a similar class-action suit against the NCAA, seeking an open market for player compensation in Trenton, NJ.
A seven judge Multidistrict Litigation Panel is now considering a motion by Alston to have the cases combined, moving the Jenkins case to Oakland, CA. Both the NCAA and Jenkins oppose consolidation and argue, if the panel decides to consolidate, that the case should be moved to their respective districts.
The NCAA filed a brief in opposition to consolidation (found here: NCAA Opposition Brief), arguing the Alston and Jenkins claims differ significantly in scope and relief sought. The NCAA argues that the Jenkins case is much more expansive than the Alston case by “mak[ing] a sweeping attack on the continued importance and vitality of the principle of amateurism in college athletics.”
These cases are very early in the litigation process and are brought among an influx of other lawsuits against the NCAA challenging student-athlete compensation.