NCAA Conferences Deny Withholding Documents in Athletes Antitrust Lawsuit

Former student-athletes who filed antitrust claims against the NCAA for compensation beyond the costs of attending college have accused the NCAA conferences of unreasonably withholding documents during discovery.

The lawsuit challenges bylaws that prevent universities from paying athletes beyond the costs of attending college. In 2014, a California federal judge refused to dismiss the suit; however, it ruled that this matter should be handled separately from the suit over the athletes’ likeness.

On March 11, 2016, the athletes filed a motion for a discovery conference alleging that the conferences have been unresponsive to discovery requests. The plaintiffs argue that the conferences, which include the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and the Southeastern conferences, are withholding documents to “stonewall” the plaintiffs and “run the clock” on the discovery deadline. The plaintiffs claim that the conferences unreasonably withheld requests for media contracts, related negotiation documents and other financial statements.

The conferences deny withholding any documents and call plaintiff’s assertions “flatly inaccurate.” The conferences claim they are cooperating in discovery; however due to confidentiality reasons, some requests, such as media contracts must be looked at by other parties, before they can be produced.

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