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Ivy League’s Eight Universities Defend Athletic Bans In Antitrust Suit

 |  May 16, 2023

The Ivy League’s eight universities have denied any violation of U.S. antitrust law regarding their bans on athletic scholarships. They have requested a dismissal of a prospective class action filed by current and former student-athletes in Connecticut federal court.

In March, two Brown University athletes filed a lawsuit accusing the school and other league members of engaging in an unlawful price-fixing scheme. The lawsuit alleges that college athletes were denied certain benefits that were available at other competing universities.

Lawyers representing universities argued in a joint court filing that college athletic leagues hold the power in establishing regulations for financial aid and compensation of student-athletes. The Ivy League’s member institutions were noted as having individually aimed towards promoting campus environments that do not place emphasis on athletics.

Read more: US Congress Allows Ivy League Antitrust Exemption To Expire

The defense lawyers presented the argument that the Ivy League schools cannot be considered a “market” for antitrust purposes, as they are just one of over 350 schools competing in the NCAA Division I.

According to court documents, the plaintiffs declined athletic scholarships offered by universities outside of the Ivy League.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ivy League athletes who enrolled in the defendant schools after being recruited to play sports since March 2019. Brown provided need-based financial aid to the name-plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs contend Ivy League schools are the only ones in Division I athletics that “refuse to provide any athletic scholarships or other compensation/reimbursement for athletic services.”