House v. NCAA settlement votes: U-M expert available

May 22, 2024
NCAA Distribution Center. Image credit: iStock
Indianapolis – Circa November 2020: NCAA Distribution Center. The National Collegiate Athletic Association regulates athletic programs of many colleges and universities.


College power conferences are voting this week on a settlement in the House v. NCAA case, in which student athletes sued the NCAA for preventing them from profiting from their name, image and likeness. Experts say the settlement is expected to further dismantle the NCAA’s amateurism model for college sports.

Richard Paulsen
Richard Paulsen

Richard Paulsen, assistant professor of sport management at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology, can talk about various aspects of the lawsuit.

“Following recent pro-labor antitrust decisions in the U.S., such as the recent FTC ruling banning noncompetes,” he said. “The NCAA’s legal representation likely fears they will lose the House v. NCAA case.

“This case alleges that current and former college athletes are owed damages for compensation lost by restrictions on compensation for their name, image and likeness, and that future restrictions would also violate antitrust law. Given that plaintiffs can ask for treble damages in antitrust cases, triple the damages they suffer, settling can lead to a lower payout for the NCAA.”

Legal experts believe the NCAA will also seek some protection from future litigation as part of a deal.

“An interesting feature of the House v. NCAA case is that those seeking damages are current athletes and former athletes who played in power conferences within the four years prior to the complaint’s filing,” Paulsen said. “But certainly some athletes who played before this period were harmed by restrictions on earning compensation for NIL.

“Even if earnings from social media is a relatively newer phenomenon, schools have been profiting from broadcast deals and more for a long time, and former athletes could have profited from being in advertisements and endorsing products. The NCAA would likely want some protection from lawsuits covering former players dating further back than the period covered in the current case.”

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