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Top US Tennis Player Sues NCAA Over Prize Money Restrictions

 |  March 19, 2024

In a bold move challenging the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) regulations, Reese Brantmeier, a prominent tennis player representing the University of North Carolina, has initiated a lawsuit against the organization. Brantmeier, who ranks among the top athletes in the United States, accuses the NCAA of imposing unjust limitations on the prize money that athletes in various sports, including tennis and gymnastics, can earn from competitions outside their collegiate affiliations.

The lawsuit, filed in a North Carolina federal court on Monday, seeks damages and an injunction against certain restrictions enforced by the NCAA. Brantmeier, a standout performer in collegiate tennis, alleges that the NCAA’s regulations infringe upon U.S. antitrust laws by curtailing the amount of compensation athletes can receive at tournaments and other non-NCAA sanctioned events, such as those organized by the U.S. Tennis Association.

According to reports from ReutersBrantmeier stated that the NCAA’s rules have led to significant financial losses, estimating tens of thousands of dollars in forfeited prize money. The complaint emphasizes that instead of hindering athletes, the NCAA should facilitate their participation in prestigious competitions beyond the confines of NCAA events.

Read more: The NCAA Faces New Antitrust Suit

An attorney representing Brantmeier conveyed in a statement on Tuesday that the primary objective of the lawsuit is not financial gain but rather the elimination of what they perceive as illegal and arbitrary restrictions imposed by the NCAA. The lawsuit aims to advocate for the rights of over 100 athletes competing in individual sports within NCAA Division I, a category that encompasses sports traditionally less lucrative than football and basketball.

While college athletes are technically permitted to engage in non-NCAA events, the NCAA’s regulations mandate that any prize money they receive must strictly cover “actual and necessary expenses.” Brantmeier’s lawsuit seeks to challenge these limitations, arguing that such restrictions undermine the opportunities available to student-athletes and impede their ability to fully participate in competitive events outside of their collegiate obligations.

The legal action initiated by Brantmeier signifies a growing discontent among collegiate athletes regarding the NCAA’s governance and regulations. It underscores broader debates surrounding athlete compensation and the rights of student-athletes to benefit from their talents and achievements beyond collegiate confines.

Source: Reuters