Athletes Granted Class Action Status in Suit Against NCAA with Potential $4.5 Billion Damages
In a groundbreaking legal development, college athletes have achieved class action status in their lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), alleging a denial of compensation for the use of their likenesses. This decision could leave the NCAA and its member conferences facing potential damages of up to $4.5 billion.
US District Judge Claudia Wilken, presiding over the case in the Northern District of California, granted class status to more than 184,000 college athletes spanning various categories. This ruling signifies a significant step forward for the case, allowing it to proceed. The lawsuit, initiated by Division I student-athletes Grant House and Sedona Prince in 2020, targets the NCAA and its prominent conferences, reported Bloomberg.
The class-action status granted on Friday extends the possibility of damages to thousands of Power Five athletes dating back to 2016. Judge Wilken expressed her support for the athletes’ claim that their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) in broadcasts holds substantial value, estimated at least ten percent of the revenues generated from the broadcasting contracts held by the defendants.
The implications of this decision extend beyond the monetary aspect. More than 6,000 football and men’s basketball players could potentially be entitled to a share of television-rights revenue, while an additional 7,000 athletes in various other sports may seek damages related to their social media earnings. To determine the outcome, a jury trial is set for January 2025.
Source: News Bloomberg Law