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NCAA FLSA Litigation

College AthleteWhile playing sports for a college team is what many young people dream of, it’s fraught with issues. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) controls student athlete’s lives as if they were employees. It makes massive profits in excess of a billion dollars each year, but doesn’t pay athletes accordingly and prohibits them from obtaining sponsorship deals on the basis of “amateurism.” This has brought the NCAA under fire in the courts and in Congress, as it faces anti-monopoly lawsuits and cases alleging Fair Labor Standards abuse.

One recent antitrust lawsuit saw two young men transfer to Chicago State University. The NCAA barred them from playing because they had legally used their own image and names to obtain financial compensation. But student athletes have also been waging a class-action lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), attempting to obtain the right to payment under current minimum wage laws. The lawsuit names the NCAA, the University of Oregon, Villanova and Duke as defendants.

The antitust attorneys at Console & Associates are ready to assist. Give us a call at 866-778-5500 or complete our online form for a free consultation to learn your legal rights.

A Changing Legal Landscape For College Athletes

While college athletes struggle to gain recognition at first, they’ve mounted a wave of class action lawsuits that have progressively gained more traction in the courts and with the public. They’ve already scored important victories, such as the right to use their own name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) to gain income. Now, athletes are fighting to obtain the right to earn minimum wage under the FLSA, with demands for damage payments for former athletes.

Why College Athletes Go Unpaid

In essence, the NCAA doesn’t pay athletes because past rulings have indicated that they don’t have to. Despite the incredible profitability of college sports and the growing control that the NCAA exercises over students, it fights compensation for student athletes at every turn. It does so by stating that college athletes must be “amateurs,” and that receiving compensation strips them of their amateur status and the right to participate in college sports.

However, this logic breaks down because of the high expectations colleges and universities place upon students. While the NCAA professes that college athletes are students first, it actually demands intense commitment and extensive practice time from athletes that isn’t in line with this. As such, it becomes increasingly clear that the NCAA refuses to pay athletes or recognize them as employees out of simple self-interest.

Know your legal options.

What Would Student Athletes Make with Fair Compensation Under the FLSA?

Every athlete’s training regimen and schedule vary, and there’s also the on-season vs off-season hours to consider. Likewise, minimum wage varies from state to state, which also impacts the overall payment.

However, take the example of an NCAA basketball player. Each year, they commit 520 hours to training and playing during the six-month season and 208 hours of training off-season. Over the course of a four-year college sports career, this adds up to 2,912 hours of strict commitment to sports that the NCAA profits from. Depending on the local minimum wage, this could range from over $20,000 to over $40,000.

The Wave of Lawsuits Against the NCAA for Refusing to Pay Collegiate Athletes

No Fee PromiseWhile the NCAA has successfully upheld the “amateurism” doctrine for decades, it’s come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. In 2021, NCAA v. Alston saw the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the NCAA violated antitrust laws by restricting athletes’ access to “education-related benefits.”

More recently, lawsuits have aimed to expand the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act to athletes by considering them employees. These protections include minimum wage rights and overtime pay eligibility, which would guarantee that students receive a wage upon their recognition as employees.

At the law firm of Console & Associates, P.C, we’re dedicated to labor rights. If you suspect you’re not compensated fairly for your labor, our antitrust attorneys can help. Schedule a free consultation by filling out our online form or calling 866-778-5500.

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