ASU’s Grant House Involved in Antitrust Lawsuit Against NCAA Over NIL Profits

Arizona State University swimmer Grant House and Oregon women’s basketball player Sedona Prince are suing the NCAA and the Power 5 conferences in a class-action lawsuit seeking injunction and damages for alleged antitrust violations regarding profits from the use of student-athletes’ names, images and likenesses.

The duo is being represented by law firm Hagens Berman, which has represented classes of college students before and achieved successful outcomes. The firm won a $208 million settlement against the NCAA concerning antitrust-related student scholarship limits, a combined $60 million settlement against Electronic Arts and the NCAA regarding player likeness rights in videogames, among others.

The new lawsuit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, accuses the NCAA, Pacific-12 Conference, the Big Ten Conference, the Big Twelve Conference, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference of limiting the compensation that Division I college athletes may receive for the use of their names, images, likenesses and athletic reputations. It alleges that the defendants violated federal antitrust laws by upholding NCAA rules that prohibit that compensation.

The lawsuit “seeks to hold the NCAA accountable” to college athletes via injunction and damages for the NCAA’s antitrust violations regulating the profits gained from the use of college athletes’ names, images and likenesses, specifically:

  • An injunction voiding rules prohibiting compensation to college athletes for use of their name, image and likeness.
  • A damages class based on payments college athletes would have received if not for the NCAA’s restraints. These revenues would be for payments that would have been made to use NCAA athletes’ images on social media platforms and revenues from group licenses that would have been negotiated by each school

Click here to view the suit in its entirety.

House, who took an Olympic redshirt in anticipation of the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics, says that NCAA rules impact potentially Olympic-bound athletes more negatively than those in other sports.

“The way the rules are right now, the NCAA puts college athletes who are shooting for the Olympics at a huge disadvantage to other athletes training to compete,” House said. “Our ability to fund our Olympic training efforts are essentially squashed by the NCAA’s rules on name, image and likeness. While Olympic athletes in general rely heavily on endorsements and other image deals to afford the cost of competing and training, the NCAA shuts us out of that opportunity entirely.”

According to the lawsuit, the specific dollar amount the plaintiffs will be seeking in damages has not yet been ascertained. It says that House has been heavily involved in ASU’s social media campaigns, however.

Notably, House and his brother also run a swimming-related podcast, and last week landed the Barstool Sports talking head known as PFTCommenter as a guest — it’s not hard to imagine that the show could be a potential revenue stream without the existing NCAA rules.

In April, the NCAA announced that it would move to “modernize” name-image-likeness rules for student-athletes by 2020-21, agreeing to allow athletes to receive compensation for things like social media, personal businesses and personal appearances, provided they fall under a set of guiding principles established by the board. The NCAA release made clear that schools are still not allowed to pay athletes, but athletes can now earn money from third parties in certain cases.

Since then, commissioners of the Power 5 conferences have appealed to the United States Congress to enact federal, national legislation on the matter ahead of the NCAA’s new rules.

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Jolynn Swimmer
3 years ago

I am actually confused here- if this guy earned from working, then it is not NCAA’s business? What is the difference between him and other college athletes who have to do the paid internship or work for the summer. If his podcast business or giving lessons/helping out…as long as he is not getting any money contribution or sponsorship, it should be any issue?

I can see if there is an earning limit, but any difference working on campus cafeteria or Uber eats between practices?

Reply to  Jolynn Swimmer
3 years ago

Bubbblehead affect………….

Reply to  Jolynn Swimmer
3 years ago

The problem is under the current rules, he can’t advertise that he is a part of ASU’s swim team.

I would assume that in his swimming podcast, he would eventually mention that he swims for a collegiate team which the NCAA would consider using his name, likeness, or image to promote this podcast if he was earning money on it.

Kinda the same situation with giving lessons or clinics. People use their accomplishments to establish credibility but you can’t do that as a collegiate athlete. No one would want to hire the instructor with just the description “I am Grant House.”

Old Swimmer
3 years ago

I realize that this comes off as ignorant but don’t these swimmers get scholarships that pay most or all of their tuition? That being said, it is nice that athletes will begin to earn money

Reply to  Old Swimmer
3 years ago

Some swimmers get scholarships, but less than you would think – and certainly less full-rides. Men’s swimming & diving gets 9.9 scholarships a season, women’s swimming & diving 14. Average roster size is somewhere around 30, so you get 9.9 or 14 scholarships divided by about 30 athletes.

When I started my freshman year of college swimming, I actually had to give up a scholarship I’d gotten from a triple-A (academics, athletics, arts) program in my hometown, because that scholarship took athletics into account and the NCAA would have counted it against my team’s 9.9 scholarship limit.

Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

And not for nothing, many of the 100+ D1 schools that offer swim programs DO NOT fund scholarships at the maximum amount, if at all. If I had a nickel for every time that I heard people say that my D1 son “got a free ride” (at his school that funds exactly zero men’s swim scholarships)… well maybe I could buy a coffee at Starbucks. But just a coffee, not one of those fancy lattes. But you get the idea.

BTW, Jared, I know that you know this. But just echoing that there is not nearly the amount of swim money out there that people seem to think there is.

Reply to  Barbotus
3 years ago

Yep. Those days are long past.

3 years ago

Sorry bud, but I don’t think money in this sport is gonna make you better especially when you’re in a college group already receiving free training, free weight room access, and free trainer access

Reply to  NCAA
3 years ago

Sure, but it’s probably not free. You have to pay for the school. (Unless of course he has a full scholarship, in which case you’re totally right.)

Speed Racer
Reply to  N P
3 years ago

Lawsuit states he has a full scholarship.

3 years ago

Good kid, but someone’s giving him bad advice. At least this advice isn’t as bad as the advice he got to attend Arizona State to train with Bowman. Focus on your training and let the rest take care of itself.

3 years ago

Based on his social media presence; followers and B final at NCAA his marketing potential or ability to secure any earnings in the “real word” of sports marketing or product marketing is an F. Take a step back and realize your ego is greater than any bobblehead made in your likeness.

3 years ago


Dave Burleigh
Reply to  Swimswammer
3 years ago

Maybe it isn’t about the money and ego so much as it is about the inequity of the NCAA asserting it alone owns the rights to the byproducts of what the student-athletes work so hard to achieve. How many other student-athletes are in the class? How many future student-athletes will benefit from the courts curtailing the NCAA’s power grab-and-abuse of anything and everything financially connected to college sports? Do not lose sight of the fact this is about a lot more than Grant House’s ego.

3 years ago

How much does it cost to run a team? Without any scholarships (as most men’s teams Mid Major D2 and D3 are).

Between paying a coach or coaches, cost the team allocated to trainers, travel, training trips, possibly their time to use the facilities, cost to host a swim meet.And how much is it per player (swimmer)?

Most of the swimmers would be unable to finance the travel/lodging costs of these meets without a part time job.

Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Lost me on the “potentially Olympic-bound part.” Top 10 in U.S. in the 200 LCM free in 2018, then #29 and #19 in the last two years. I’d bet on about 12 other guys before him. Also not betting he’d be bringing in mucho dinero from image or endorsements, as is part of his claim.. Other than that, a great lawsuit.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Agreed. He is a talented swimmer, who has had some success at the higher levels of the sport. However, when he says “potentially Olympic-bound part” I struggle with that as I still have seared in my memory banks House going 1:54 in a 200 Free seeded heat at 2016 Trials. Don’t believe me? Look it up. If anyone is capable of proving me wrong, in regards to past history I am sure Grant House can do it. However, I choose to fall back on my fathers advice from my childhood when things weren’t going my way, “stop complaining about what you don’t have and just work HARDER.” Best of luck to Grant receiving funds from potential podcasts in the future.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Buckeyeboy
3 years ago

With all due respect to your father, pretty sure that’s what the masters said to the slaves.

Reply to  Buckeyeboy
3 years ago

Grant House was a child at Trials 2016. Obviously he’ll do markedly better than that in 2021. Especially since he’s already been a 1:46.9 in the 200. If he can drop 1 more second from now to Summer 2021, that could very well be enough for a relay spot, especially since the Men’s 200 free is arguably the event where you’d have the best chance of coming out of nowhere and making the team (since there are 6 spots instead of 2 and at least half of them are completely up for grabs).

I tend to agree that he likely doesn’t make it, I’d probably place him 8th or 9th. But his statement that he’s “potentially” Olympic-bound (as opposed to… Read more »

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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