Thursday November 30, 2023

NCPA Files Civil Rights Complaint Over NCAA Athlete Compensation

  • On Tuesday, the NCPA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights over athlete compensation limits.
  • The organization estimates an FBS football player or D-I basketball player loses thousands of dollars each year.
Jenna Watson/IndyStar /Design: Alex Brooks
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During last year’s NCAA Division I basketball tournaments, the National College Players Association launched a campaign advocating for NIL rights. This year, they’re making a push to get schools to pay their players beyond scholarships.

On Tuesday, the NCPA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, alleging Division I schools’ athlete compensation limits violate Black students’ civil rights. It asks to abolish these caps.

The complaint, reviewed by Front Office Sports, argues that Black FBS football and Division I basketball players in particular receive far less than their market value. “Because a high percentage of Black students are also college athletes,” the NCPA said, “the industry-wide compensation limit causes a disparate impact on Black college students.”

The complaint estimates an athlete is denied the following amount every year:

  • Division I women’s basketball player — $24,000.
  • Division I men’s basketball player — $164,000. 
  • FBS football player — $185,000.

Another 2021 study found that between 2005-19, Black Power 5 football and basketball players could have made $17.3 billion.

Multiple Avenues

There are currently several other efforts to help athletes get salaries.

As part of a larger campaign, the NCPA previously filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board to get athletes collective bargaining rights — the second of its kind in the past year.

The Third Circuit is also considering whether athletes are employees.

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