Lawyers representing a former West Virginia University football player have filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA and its five most-powerful conferences, alleging that they conspired to cap the value of athletics scholarships below players’ cost of attending college, The Birmingham News reports.
The suit seeks an injunction that enjoins the NCAA and the five major conferences from maintaining the present NCAA bylaw limiting financial aid to the currently defined grant-in-aid value. The suit also seeks damages for the difference between the grants-in-aid awarded and the cost of attendance.
“This new case gets at a fundamental issue having nothing to do with image rights, but everything to do with basic economic rights,” Steve Berman, one of the lead attorneys, said in a statement. “FBS football players should no longer be treated as second class citizens. They generate massive amounts of money for the schools and the NCAA, and these players should not have to struggle to make ends meet while they are surrounded by multi-millionaire coaches.”
The NCAA, which did not immediately respond to the suit, is considering a new governance system that would provide the wealthiest leagues more autonomy and the ability to cover a greater share of athletes’ miscellaneous expenses. A 2012 study found that out-of-pocket expenses could be as high as $6,904 a year for some big-time athletes.