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NCAA Faces Potential $2.7 Billion Settlement in Landmark Suit

 |  May 5, 2024

Sources close to the ongoing House v. NCAA lawsuit and related antitrust cases have disclosed to ABC News that the NCAA’s national office might be responsible for a settlement expected to surpass $2.7 billion. This move aims to reshape and stabilize the college sports industry, marking a notable departure from the status quo.

Reports from ABC News suggest that negotiations are leaning towards the NCAA’s national office, rather than its member schools or conferences, footing the bill over a ten-year period. The funds would compensate former college athletes who claim they were unfairly restricted from profiting from their name, image, and likeness rights.

Additionally, sources indicate that the proposed settlement would require conferences and schools to share revenue with athletes moving forward. This model could potentially see each school offering athletes up to nearly $20 million per year, depending on revenue metrics still under discussion.

Steve Berman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, stressed the significance of the House case, referring to it as a “difference-maker” in challenging NCAA regulations. While not divulging specifics, Berman noted the increasing leverage of the plaintiffs as the trial approaches, suggesting that further delay could escalate the NCAA’s financial obligations significantly.

Related: Multiple States Join Tennessee’s Antitrust Lawsuit Against NCAA Over NIL Rules

Since a pivotal meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas-Fort Worth last month, details surrounding the potential settlement have begun circulating on campuses. While many aspects remain unresolved, both sides appear to be making progress towards a consensus.

The heart of the House case revolves around the plaintiffs’ argument that NCAA restrictions on athletes’ ability to monetize their name, image, and likeness violate antitrust laws. With the trial set for January, the NCAA faces the prospect of over $4 billion in damages should they fail to prevail.

Beyond financial considerations, the NCAA is motivated to establish a system that minimizes future litigation risks. However, experts caution that a settlement alone might not suffice without additional measures, such as congressional intervention or collective bargaining agreements with athletes.

The NCAA and its member conferences are embroiled in multiple federal antitrust cases challenging the association’s amateurism rules, all of which could potentially be resolved under the House settlement.

Earlier this month, the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment, which asks the judge in the case to rule on several key arguments prior to trial. The hearing for summary judgment is scheduled for September.

Source: ABC News