The $209 million settlement of a suit filed against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) moved closer to being approved on Monday. If it passes scrutiny, it would provide approximately 40,000 student-athletes across the country with upwards of $6,700 each to cover the differences between athletic scholarships and the cost of attending school.
The suit -- which was filed back in 2014 against the NCAA, Pac 12, Big Ten, Big 12, Southeastern Conference, and Atlantic Coast Conference – alleged that the defendants conspired with each other to cap financial aid given to players so that it was below the cost of attending college, violating antitrust laws.
Shawne Alston, who initially brought up the suit, said that the amount given to players was far below what the competitive market would pay, according to Courthouse News. Alston, who played running back for the West Virginia Mountaineers, said that he had to borrow over $5,000 to cover the difference between the school’s price and the scholarship he received.
Just one problem…
In 2015, Wilken designated three classes for the lawsuit comprising Division I football players, Division I men’s basketball players, and Division I women’s basketball players. And, last month, the NCAA announced a settlement that would reimburse athletes who played from March 5, 2010 to the present. However, one problem is holding back approval of the agreement.
Wilken stated that although the settlement seems like a good one, it doesn’t go far enough to inform athletes if they’re eligible to receive money. She noted that a comprehensive agreement should include a way for athletes to find out if they qualify and allow them to dispute the amount they are receiving. She informed the parties that she would not grant preliminary approval of the settlement until these conditions were met.
Scott Cooper, a representative for the Pac 12 Conference, has stated that attorneys have set up a reserve fund to ensure that anyone mistakenly left out of the settlement is compensated.
“We had anticipated that the process would be one in which we would initially send checks out and there would be a second round in which we would pick up anybody who didn’t receive either the amounts they expected or claimed they were entitled to money that hadn’t been sent. So that was the purpose of the reserve,” he said.
What to do
Editor's note: This story is about a class-action lawsuit. If you are among the class of consumers described in the suit, you may eventually be eligible to participate in whatever compensation the court awards, if any. Unlike what many people think, you do not "join" a class action -- you are either in the class covered by the action or you are not.
Often, consumers included in an award do not need to take any action, as the defendant is required to contact them directly. In other cases, the court and the attorneys who brought the case will issue instructions when the case is settled.
Please see our Class Action Guide for more information.