The NCAA has agreed to pay $208.6 million to settle the antitrust claims of student athletes who sought damages over the rules capping compensation packages to the athletes.
The NCAA and lawyers for the athletes asked a federal judge Friday to grant preliminary approval of the plan and set March 21 for a hearing to present the issue.
The student-athletes who played football and basketball and received scholarship packages, known as grant-in-aid, sued for damages that would be the difference between what the GIA pad and the actual cost of college. They argued the NCAA engaged in anti-competitive conduct to keep the value of their playing down.
The potential settlement would cover roughly 21,000 athletes and the individual payment for an athlete who played four years would be $6,700. It covers student athletes who played or are playing in Division I men’s football and men’s and women’s basketball.
The lawsuit was filed in 2014 and was the first of its kind antitrust class action. It accused the NCAA and five powerful conferences, the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big-12 and ACC, with conspiracy to disrupt the free market and deprive the student athletes of the full value of the benefits of their labor.
According to the lawsuit, the NCAA and conferences used rules to artificially depress the value of athletic scholarships by several thousand dollars a year per student, forcing it below the actual cost of attending college.
The terms of the deal go before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken for preliminary approval March 21.
Case: In re: NCAA Grant-in-Aid Antitrust, No. 14-md-2541