NCAA Approves Multi-Billion Dollar Settlement in Historic House Case, Ending Amateurism

by Riley Overend 108

May 23rd, 2024 College, News

Despite pushback from smaller Division I conferences, the NCAA Board of Governors reportedly approved settlement terms for Arizona State swimmer Grant House‘s class-action lawsuit that could send more than $15 billion to college athletes over the 10-year agreement.

The settlement, which would also end the Hubbard and Carter cases facing the NCAA if approved by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, includes almost $2.8 billion in back damages for lost opportunities from the organization’s past restrictions on name, image, and likeness (NIL). But the more consequential component is a revenue-sharing model that would allow schools to share up to $22 million annually with athletes — essentially a salary cap — likely starting in the fall of 2025.

“This would be the biggest change in the history of college sports. Period,” Tulane sports law professor Gabe Feldman told Yahoo Sports. “There have been significant changes and incremental changes. The NIL era has opened a lot of doors, but to have athletes share revenue with the schools would be not only monumental but would be contrary to what the NCAA has espoused for a century.”

Unlike past legal losses, NCAA member schools will pay the majority of the damages rather than the organization itself. Individual institutions will combine for 59% ($1.65 billion) while the NCAA will cover 41% ($1.65 billion) of the cost to about 14,500 players dating back to 2016. The 27 non-Power Five conference will pay $990 million over a decade compared to $664 million for the Power Five. The Pac-12 still voted as a full conference because its schools don’t officially leave until later this summer.

Five of the 21 NCAA Board of Directors voted against the funding model during a meeting on Tuesday. The settlement keeps booster collectives alive, but it encourages them to move within the framework of university athletic departments. It also would do away with scholarship restrictions and add roster limits in an effort to avoid future legal battles.

Although the settlement is finalized for now, there will likely be moving pieces in the coming months. One of the lead plaintiff attorneys, Jeffrey Kessler, said the courts will decide “the degree in which Title IX applies” to the settlement.

Without a settlement, the NCAA reportedly risked losing $20 billion in damages if the organization was dealt another defeat in court.

The settlement doesn’t solve all of the NCAA’s problems as the organization still faces the possibility of college athletes becoming employees and potentially unionizing. Sportico’s Michael McCann wrote that NCAA president Charlie Baker is “likely banking on the settlement providing goodwill as he lobbies Congress” for a federal exemption.


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Washed up
15 days ago

Grant House is like swimmers I swam with in high school and college who complained that no one came to watch swim meets even though the teams I was in were the best in the school. I told those morons that swim meets are boring unless you know someone and that football, basketball and hockey were more fun to watch. I told them you swim because you like to swim and not to have people watch or give you recognition. Grant – if a scholarship, free training and meals isn’t enough DONT SWIM NCAA! Swim club or don’t swim at all. This whole pay for play was about football and basketball. My guess is that swimming will be one mostly… Read more »

Rick Paine
26 days ago

I have seen a lot of changes to college swimming and diving over the past 40 years as an Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at a top D-I men’s and women’s team for 17 years and helping swimmers and divers get recruited with American College Connection for the past 23 years. Budgets for non-revenue sports have never been good and it is about to get worse.
Here is what I see in the future for college swimming and diving:
·      Programs will get cut
·      Scholarships will be reduced (not at every school)
·      Parents will have to be more creative in helping their student-athlete pay for college.
·      Student-athletes will have to focus… Read more »

26 days ago

it is not easy as it seems

  • donations, swimmers are wealthy intelligent people
  • ROI on the those intelligent swimmers as they attends ones school, recruitment tool, also win Olympic medals bring attention
  • use your pool more anything else too, open the pools for normal people etc. there is a way to make money, club teams to subside the college team, so on and so on
Former int’l P5 swimmer
26 days ago

As a former international P5 swimmer: internationals can’t get paid, so schools will start stacking their rosters with international swimmers?! That doesn’t look so good for US swimmers though. Or does anybody want to take on homeland security?!

26 days ago

I wonder if this means that fewer schools make the jump to D1 and start football programs. There have been a lot of schools starting football, and I never understood that. It’s just so expensive. Collegiate volleyball has proven they can attract big crowds. Basketball can pack a small arena. Soccer in this country is growing. Why develop a mediocre football program when you can try building a strong soccer program for a lot cheaper. Make an event out of it and the crowd might be the same size for less expense.

What I’m guessing will be the result of this is the big football schools finally breaking away from the NCAA in football, and maybe totally, although I’m… Read more »

27 days ago

Grant House, 20 years from now: But I never thought they would cut MY swim team

27 days ago

If the athlete’s revenue cut is double that of the University’s COA, they should repay their scholarship.

Furthermore, in my utopia, the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL & USOC would help subsidize the cost of athlete development at the collegiate level. Professional sports making money on the backs of taxpayer funded scholarships, via televised tryouts on college game day, is a business model that only the 1% could make happen.

I’ll keep dreaming.

Reply to  malcolm
25 days ago

This post nails it. Revenue shared with athletes is fine – but then no scholarships. Or reduced scholarships based upon athlete shares. The highly-paid athletes can simply pay tuition like the regular students.

What WILL change of course, is that the universities won’t make as money, now that revenue is shared. FYI, athletic departments have been required to be self-funded for many years. The extra went to the rest of the school. Now, less for the rest of the school.

Reply to  YGBSM
25 days ago

“Athletics departments have been required to be self funded for years” – maybe I misunderstand what you’re saying, but this is not true. Many, many Athletics departments rely on student fees to balance the books.

27 days ago


Last edited 27 days ago by Towelie

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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