Federal Judge Pre-Approves NCAA Concussion Settlement

On Thursday, July 14, 2016, an Illinois federal judge granted preliminary approval of a $75 million settlement for concussion-related personal injury claims brought by a class of student-athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee said he expects the settlement to be finalized next year after further resolution of issues between the two parties. Seventy million of the settlement will be used to fund a 50-year medical monitoring program to screen student-athletes for head injuries. The remaining $5 million…
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NCAA Class Action Battling Over Discovery

The NCAA is clashing further with the class members of the “grant-in-aid” class action over the production of documents during discovery. The NCAA student athlete scholarship class action lawsuits were consolidated to the California federal court in a multidistrict litigation. According to the complaint, the NCAA conferences (NCAA, Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and ACC) “colluded” to offer scholarship to student athletes which are insufficient to pay the full costs of attending college. The student athletes claim this violates federal antitrust laws. In March,…
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NCAA: What To Do With $9 Million?

The marathon antitrust case commenced in 2009 between the NCAA and former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and other former student athletes continues to this day. Several disgruntled former student athletes are suing the NCAA for wrongfully profiting off their likeness. The former students argue that the NCAA wrongfully used and profited from their names, images and likeness in various ways — including video games like EASports — without being compensated for it. Last May, U.S. District Judge Wilken ordered the NCAA to immediately pay…
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Student-Athlete Pay Cap Claims Return, NCAA Seeks Shelter Under O’Bannon Ruling

The NCAA is seeking to remove multidistrict litigation antitrust claims relating to the organization’s rules regarding student-athlete compensation. Currently, the NCAA maintains that college athletics is a form of competitive amateurism. The NCAA’s unwillingness to pay student-athletes compensation beyond the cost of attendance is based in the belief that college sports are hobbies played by amateur athletes. On Monday, May 18, 2016, the NCAA claimed that the issue of student-athlete compensation has already been litigated in the O’Bannon case ruling (2015). Previously, in a…
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NCAA Athlete Compensation: Student-Athletes File Petition for Rehearing

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015,  former student-athletes filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit for a rehearing en banc on its decision to uphold the rule that NCAA athletes do not need to be compensated beyond the cost of attending college. The federal trial court originally held that: (1) universities may grant to student athletes the full cost of attendance; and (2) universities may allow student athletes to receive up to $5,000 per year as compensation for the use of their names and likenesses. On…
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Student-Athlete Time Demands: NCAA D-I Council Takes Another Look

Over the course of the first week of October, the NCAA Division I Council began discussions on the time demands of college athletics. Member schools will discuss the demands among themselves, and they will also consider student-athlete input. Currently, while in-season, D-I college sport teams are subject to a 20-hour-per-week limit on the athletes’ combined game and practice time. During the off-season, programs are limited to 8 hours per week. The Council discussions come following the September 30, 2015 U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’…
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NCAA Student-Athletes Continue Fight For Class Certification

On Thursday, October 1, 2015,  a group of student athletes continued their fight for class action certification in their lawsuit against the NCAA. The lawsuits, filed on behalf of former and current NCAA athletes, aims to reduce NCAA restrictions on scholarship caps for Bowl Subdivision D-1 football players and for men’s and women’s basketball teams. In order to obtain class certification, the plaintiffs must demonstrate that all of their cases involve common questions of law or fact and that the “named” plaintiffs will protect the…
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Student Athletes Appeal Settlement in Class Action Lawsuit Against NCAA, Electronic Arts

A new development emerged Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in the case against Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) as two plaintiffs are appealing the approval of a $60 million settlement. The case—a class action lawsuit brought by student athletes—involves the use of students’ names, images, and likeness in EA’s NCAA video game series. The class action has two underlying lawsuits: Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc. et al and O’Bannon, Jr. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association et al. A…
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Let’s Try That Again: Ex-NCAA Athletes Appeal Publicity Rights Suit to Sixth Circuit

On Monday, July 13, a group of ten former student athletes filed a notice of appeal with the Sixth Circuit regarding their publicity rights’ claims.  Ultimately, this effort fits into the much larger battle of whether student athletes should receive compensation for their participation in sporting events. The former college athletes are disputing U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp’s dismissal of their claims on grounds that they failed to sufficiently back their arguments that they deserve compensation under Tennessee law.  The plaintiffs are seeking to prove…
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New Settlement Proposal Made in NCAA Concussion Lawsuit

On April 14th, the NCAA filed a new proposed $75 million settlement deal to resolve the class-action concussion lawsuit filed against it.  The lawsuit resulted from the consolidation of several cases after former student athletes sued the organization for downplaying and/or neglecting to inform them of the long-term, life altering risk and consequences of sports-related head injuries. The revised proposal was submitted to address deficiencies in the prior settlement deal that federal judge John Z. Lee rejected last December.  In essence, the core…
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