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NCAA in ‘Deep Discussions’ to Begin Revenue Sharing With Athletes: Report

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Albany Regional-UCLA vs Connecticut

In a move that would seismically change college sports as we know it, there are “deep discussions” regarding a legal settlement that would give NCAA athletes revenue sharing, according to a new report from ESPN’s Dan Murphy and Pete Thamel. This is off the backs of a NIL antitrust class action lawsuit against the NCAA in Washington D.C.

The report notes that any legal settlement would “likely lay out the framework for sharing revenue with athletes in a future NCAA business model.”

 

The legal case, House vs. NCAA, argues that the NCAA is breaking federal law by placing any restrictions on how athletes make money from selling the rights to their name, image or likeness. The case is scheduled to go to court in January 2025.

Why settle? Well, if the plaintiffs win at trial, the NCAA and its schools could be liable to pay more than $4 billion in damages.

There was a meeting last week between power conference commissioners, their general counsels, NCAA president Charlie Baker, and NCAA lawyers, and its now expected that while a deal isn’t imminent, details about what a multi-billion-dollar settlement would look like could be shared with universities in the near future.

A legal settlement could also lay the foundation for a college sports future with more guardrails beyond the Wild West that has become the transfer portal and Name, Image and Likeness.

ESPN noted that revenue sharing for the top schools would be set in the neighborhood of $20 million annually, although that’s not yet decided upon. Then, individual schools will be able to opt in to share revenue up to that number with its student athletes at its discretion. They could share less, but not more.

 

The House vs. NCAA case is one of four active antitrust lawsuits. Another pending antitrust lawsuit, Carter v. NCAA, argues that the NCAA should not be able to keep schools from paying players directly for their performance.

With the other pending cases, it’s likely any settlement in the House case would have to include protection for the NCAA from future litigation.

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