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NCAA, Power 5 Facing Potential $1B NIL Lawsuit

  • Attorneys are seeking up to $1 billion in a case against the NCAA and Power 5 conferences.
  • The case argues for NIL-related backpay for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 season.
Iowa Hawkeyes players leave the court as LSU Lady Tigers players celebrate behind them after the game during the final round of the Women's Final Four NCAA tournament at the American Airlines Center.
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The NCAA and its biggest conferences could be facing a $1 billion lawsuit.

On Tuesday, attorneys representing two former college athletes filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA and Power 5 conferences seeking retroactive educational payments for college athletes related to the 2021 Alston Supreme Court case. The two firms won the Alston case in June 2021.

Winston & Strawn LLP and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP argued that in light of the Alston ruling — which in part allows schools to offer $5,980 per athlete as “educational benefits” — between 5,000 and 20,000 athletes are owed back payments between 2018 and 2020. The damages are therefore worth between $200 million and $1 billion.

Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard, formerly of Oklahoma State, and Auburn track athlete Keira McCarrell are the named plaintiffs in the case.

Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley celebrates after walking off the court after defeating the San Diego State Aztecs in the national championship game of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at NRG Stadium.

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“Despite all these NIL deals, the NCAA is doing great,” Winston & Strawn co-executive chairman Jeffrey L. Kessler told Sports Illustrated. “There’s been no harm for consumer interest or competitive balance. I think most people would say that the NCAA and its various sports are successful as they’ve ever been.”

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