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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ivy League Athletes Sue Over Policy Prohibiting Sports Scholarships

  • The Princeton men’s basketball team is the only one in the tournament without any players on athletic scholarship.
  • That’s because of an Ivy League policy prohibiting athletic scholarships — that is currently the subject of an antitrust lawsuit.
Princeton scores big NCAA Tournament upset.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, 15-seed Princeton men’s basketball team pulled out a thrilling upset over No. 2 Arizona. 

The Tigers, who will advance to the Round of 32 on Saturday, are the only team in the men’s tournament without any players on athletic scholarship. Ivy League schools prohibit sports scholarships and only offer athletes “need-based” financial aid. 

As if March couldn’t get any madder, two basketball players filed a lawsuit against Ivy League schools over this policy just two weeks ago. 

  • The lawsuit, which is seeking class certification, was filed by current Brown women’s basketball player Grace Kirk and former men’s player Tamenang Choh. 
  • The players argued in a complaint that the policy violates the Sherman Antitrust Act by illegally price-fixing the value of athletes’ athletic competition. 
  • While the suit acknowledges that players receive financial aid, it often doesn’t cover the cost of attendance — which an athletic scholarship might.

“The Ivy League Agreement, in short, has stymied competition that would have lowered, and would lower, the net cost of attendance,” the complaint read. “These injuries are particularly unfair given what is required of Ivy League Athletes and how their services benefit their schools and the Ivy League brand.”

The complaint also referenced two other recent antitrust cases related to college sports, O’Bannon v. NCAA and NCAA v. Alston — which both found that certain compensation restrictions in the NCAA were illegal.

“The Ivy League athletics model is built upon the foundational principle that student-athletes should be representative of the wider student body, including the opportunity to receive need-based financial aid,” the Ivy League said in a statement.

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