Summary of House v NCAA and other Cases the NCAA Wants to Settle

Written by Kassandra Ramsey, Esq.

· NCAA,College Sports,House v NCAA,Hubbard v NCAA,Carter v NCAA

The NCAA finds itself in a precarious situation as the association considers settling multiple legal challenges where the association could be required to pay billions of dollars in damages. For years, the NCAA has suffered major losses in a series of cases led by various plaintiffs seeking to expand the rights of college athletes. In 2021, the NCAA suffered a major defeat in NCAA v. Alston where the United States Supreme Court made it clear that the NCAA's rules are subject to federal antitrust law and that the court would not be granting the association an antitrust exemption.

Since then, the NCAA has continued to have its rules challenged. The NCAA's most formidable challenge to date is a case known as House v. NCAA. The House case, as it is commonly referred to stands to completely upend the NCAA as the association faces up to 4.3 billion dollars in damages if the case goes trial. This is precisely why the NCAA is currently working to settle this case along with two others. Below is a summary of House and the other two cases the NCAA is currently working to settle:

House v. NCAA

On June 15, 2020, then Arizona State University swimmer Grant House and then University of Oregon women’s basketball player Sedona Prince sued the NCAA alleging that the NCAA and the Power 5 Conferences were illegally imposing restrictions on the compensation Division I athletes could receive for the use of their NIL. This case was consolidated with Oliver v. NCAA, that was filed by former University of Illinois football player Tymir Oliver. Since the original complaint was filed, college athletes have been granted the right to profit from their NIL.

A series of state laws led the NCAA to enact an Interim NIL Policy allowing college athletes to engage in NIL deals. Despite the changes regarding college athletes’ ability to profit from their NIL, the House case is moving forward as the plaintiffs seek back pay for lost NIL wages. Specifically, the plaintiffs seek back pay for lost NIL broadcasting revenue, lost NIL videogame revenue, and lost revenues for third party NIL deals. The plaintiffs are also challenging the rules prohibiting schools from directly compensating athletes for their NIL. The plaintiffs claim that 10 percent of the broadcasting revenue is attributed to college athletes NIL being used in the broadcasts.

This case stands to be rather costly for the NCAA as the District Court judge hearing the case has certified the three damages classes the plaintiffs sough to create. The three classes are:

  • Football and Men’s Basketball Class - This class consist of all current and former college athletes who have received full grant-in-aid scholarships and compete or competed on a men’s college football team or basketball team that is a member of the Power 5 conferences between June 15, 2016 and Nov 3
  • Women’s basketball class – This class consist of all current and former college athletes who have received full grant-in-aid scholarships and compete or competed on a women’s college basketball team that is a member of the Power 5 conferences between June 15, 2016 and Nov 3.
  • Additional Sports Classes - Except for members of the previously mentioned basketball and football classes, all current or former college athletes who competed on a Division I athletic team prior to July 1, 2021, and who received compensation for use of their NIL as a college athlete between July 1, 2021, and Nov. 3.

This means that more than 6,000 football and men’s basketball players would be entitled to a share of TV rights money and 7,000 athletes in other sports would be eligible for damages related to social media earnings. Athletes could earn a portion of ticket sales and endorsement revenue as well. The damages for these classes are 1.4 billion dollars and could increase to 4.3 billion dollars if treble damages pursuant to the Sherman Act apply. This case could have significant impacts not only on the NCAA but on the conferences and schools as well. The monetary damages could be passed down to the schools and the conferences possibly putting the schools and the conference in a precarious financial situation.

Hubbard v. NCAA

Former Oklahoma State University (OSU) football player, Chubba Hubbard, and former University of Oregon (Oregon) and Auburn University (Auburn) track and field athlete, Keira McCarrell, filed a class action lawsuit against the NCAA and several conferences seeking to recover damages for not being allowed to receive what has become known as Alston Awards. Soon after the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Alston, schools like the University of Mississippi announced that it would begin allowing its college athletes to receive Alston Awards. Similarly, Oregon and Auburn instituted programs to provide their athletes with Alston Awards. Specifically, over 97 percent of athletes at the University of Oregon received Alston Awards during the 2021-2022 academic school year.

In February of 2022, Auburn began issuing Academic Achievement Awards to its athletes. While McCarrell received an Academic Achievement Award from Auburn once the program began, McCarrel was precluded from being rewarded for her academic success before her respective schools were allowed to make such awards available. Accordingly, McCarrell is seeking damages for being precluded from receiving rewards for her academic success during her time at Oregon and during her first two years at Auburn. Hubbard and McCarrell seek to recover damages from the NCAA, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big Ten Conference, the Big 12 Conference, the Pac-12 Conference and the Southeastern Conference for their illegal agreement that precluded athletes from receiving Academic Achievement Awards. Hubbard and McCarrell seek to recover damages for all current and former NCAA athletes who competed on a Division I team and who met the requirements to receive an Academic Achievement Award at any time between April 1, 2019 and the date of class certification.

Carter v. NCAA

Duke football player Dewayne Carter, Stanford soccer player Nya Harrison, and TCU basketball player Sedona Price sued the NCAA and is seeking an injunction that would prevent the NCAA from enforcing its “pay-for-play” rules and seeks damages for past payments athletes would have received if the rules were not in place.

College and high school athletes have been granted the right to profit from their name, image, and likeness! Yayyyyyy!!! College and high school athletes can now enter NIL Deals. This is an exciting opportunity for college and high school athletes. However, there are certain topics that college and high school athletes and their parents need to know before entering any NIL Deal. Download by free NIL Contract Checklist for 5 contract terms to know! For more on college athletes' name, image, and likeness rights follow me on Twitter @esquire_coach and on Instagram and TikTok @the_esquirecoach. To receive updates from The Esquire Coach Blog directly to your email please subscribe below.