The payout to current and former NCAA Division 1 college-athletes is about to begin after a sole objector to a $208 million class-action settlement missed the deadline to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, according to law firm representing the class of college-athletes.
Attorneys say distribution of the settlement funds will begin in August. The range of average distribution for class members who played his or her sport for four years is currently estimated to be approximately $5,000 to $7,500. Distribution of the settlement proceeds was held up pending resolution of the Ninth Circuit appeal of Darrin Duncan, the only person out of 53,748 class members to object to the deal.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs ensured that settlement funds did accrue interest while in escrow. As of May 1, 2019, the total interest earned since inception of the NCAA GIA escrow account was more than $1.3 million.
The first-of-its-kind suit originally filed in 2014 alleged the NCAA and its most powerful conference members the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big-12, SEC and ACC systematically colluded to disrupt the free market and robbed NCAA Division I players of the full economic benefits of their labor. The lawsuit argued that in a just scenario, free of the NCAA’s antitrust collusion, schools would gladly compete for the attendance of talented student-athletes by at least providing the full cost of attendance through Grants in Aid (GIAs).
In late 2017, Judge Claudia Wilken granted final approval of a $208 million settlement in the nationwide class action regarding NCAA-imposed caps to student-athletes’ scholarships. On March 8, 2019, Judge Wilken also ruled in favor of the class and granted their requested injunction. The injunction prohibits the NCAA from enforcing any rules that fix or limit education-related compensation and benefits provided to college-athletes by schools or conferences in consideration for their athletic services.
The case specifically affects all Division I collegiate athletes who played men’s or women’s basketball, or Football Bowl Subdivision football between Mar. 5, 2010 and the date of preliminary approval of the settlement, Mar. 21, 2017, and who received from an NCAA member institution for at least one academic term (such as a semester or quarter) (1) a full athletics GIA required by NCAA rules to be set at a level below the cost of attendance, and/or (2) an otherwise full athletics GIA.