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NCAA establishes fund for student-athletes

Eleven NCAA Division I conferences and the NCAA agreed to create a nearly $208.7 million fund for the benefit of current and former NCAA Division I basketball and Football Bowl Subdivision football student-athletes to settle the monetary claims portion of the grant-in-aid class-action lawsuit. Although the lawsuit included conference defendants, the NCAA Board of Governors determined the settlement will be funded entirely from NCAA reserves, and no conference or member schools will be required to contribute. The settlement is subject to approval by the court and will award class members money up to, but not exceeding, their full cost of attendance.

Proposed settlement class members include Division I men’s and women’s basketball and FBS football student-athletes from the 2009-10 academic year through the 2016-17 academic year who did not receive cost of attendance as a part of their scholarship. Class members will be eligible to receive a distribution if they attended schools that have been or will provide cost of attendance athletics aid by the 2017-18 academic year.

The agreement maintains cost of attendance as an appropriate dividing line between collegiate and professional sports. In fact, the NCAA and conferences only settled this case because the terms are consistent with Division I financial aid rules, which allow athletics-based aid up to the full cost of obtaining a college education. Whenever possible and appropriate, the NCAA prefers to provide benefits to student-athletes rather than incur the ongoing cost of lawyers and legal processes.  

The NCAA and conferences will continue to vigorously oppose the remaining portion of the lawsuit seeking pay for play. Plaintiffs’ lawyers want to dismantle college sports, which has provided billions of dollars in scholarships and the opportunity for millions across 24 sports to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Association and its members, not plaintiffs’ lawyers or courts, are best positioned to shape the NCAA’s rules and processes to better serve student-athletes.