Ninth Circuit Rejects Lamar Dawson’s Bid to Revive Lawsuit

On August 12, 2019, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges rejected Lamar Dawson’s bid to revive a proposed class action lawsuit, which claimed that the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference improperly denied student-athletes minimum wage and overtime. In their ruling, the panel noted that the Pac-12 and NCAA did not provide Dawson, a former University of Southern California linebacker, with a scholarship or have the power to hire or fire him and, thus, they were not his employer, nor was he their employee. According to Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas, “In sum, the district court correctly held that the NCAA and the Pac-12 were not Dawson’s employers,” wrote in the opinion on behalf of the three-judge panel. “Within the analytical framework established by the Supreme Court, the NCAA and Pac-12 are regulatory bodies, not employers of student-athletes under the [Fair Labor Standards Act].”

As we have previously reported, Dawson began his class-action lawsuit in September 2016. He alleged that the NCAA and Pac-12 violated California law and the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying college football players a minimum wage. “The reality of the relationship between the students and the universities they work for is that the athletes deserve to be compensated for the enormous value they bring to the universities,” Dawson’s attorney stated.

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