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NCAA and Member Conferences Sued By College Athletes In New Antitrust Suit

 |  June 15, 2020

College athletes have filed an antitrust class-action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) accusing it of unlawfully prohibiting them from receiving benefits for the use of their name, image and likeness, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.

The lawsuit filed June 15, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division accuses the NCAA, Pacific-12 Conference, the Big Ten Conference, the Big Twelve Conference, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference of illegally limiting the compensation that Division I college athletes may receive for the use of their names, images, likenesses and athletic reputations. 

The complaint says the entities violated federal antitrust laws in abiding by a particular subset of NCAA amateurism rules that prohibit college athletes from receiving anything of value in exchange for the commercial use of their name and likeness.

The lawsuit cites a recent example in Zion Williamson, a Duke freshman and future number one pick in the 2019 NBA draft, who suffered a sprain and ripped his Nike sneakers on live television during a match between Duke and the University of North Carolina.

“Williamson wore Nikes because Duke has a multi-million dollar sponsorship contract with the company that requires the school’s athletes to wear Nike apparel during all competitions. But, while the value of this lucrative deal is directly related to and derived from the commercial benefits that Nike gains by associating its products with college athletes—particularly star players like Williamson—Williamson himself earned nothing from the arrangement because the NCAA prohibits all Division I athletes from being compensated for the commercial use of their names, images, and likenesses.” The suit says this was the moment when “the true nature of big-time college sports—and the powerful commercial influences that surround them, were laid bare.”

By the following day, Nike, the manufacturer of the shoe Williamson was wearing, had suffered a $1.1 billion decline in its stock market value that analysts attributed directly to the incident, the suit says.

Attorneys say college athletes are long overdue for their fair share of the massively lucrative college sports industry.

Full Content: Olean Times Herald

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