With Over $1 Billion At Stake, NCAA Challenges Class Certification in House v. NCAA

by Riley Overend 24

May 01st, 2023 College, Industry, News

Attorneys for the NCAA submitted a 50-page brief last week arguing against a request for class certification in House v. NCAA, the antitrust lawsuit seeking NIL backpay and broadcast revenue sharing led by Arizona State swimmer Grant House.

As a refresher, House filed the lawsuit in the summer of 2020, over a year before the NCAA lifted its restrictions on college athletes’ ability to profit off their name, image, and likeness. It sought an injunction voiding the old NIL regulations as well as a damages class based on payments college athletes would have received if not for the NCAA’s restraints.

Last fall, House’s attorneys made the case for four classes: one injunctive relief class encompassing all Division I athletes who competed from June 15, 2020 (the date of the complaint) through the case’s judgment, which is slated for trial in Jan. 27, 2025; and three damages classes for football and men’s basketball players, women’s basketball players, and additional sports dating back to 2016. They also argued that players are entitled to broadcast NIL, including 10% of television revenue for football and basketball players.

The NCAA’s attorneys clapped back on Friday, claiming that current and former college athletes are collectively asking for more than $1.4 billion in damages (an amount that might not even factor in yet the tripling of damages that happens in successful antitrust cases). They argued that House v. NCAA should not continue on a class-action basis because of “substantial differences” in players’ NIL worth.

“NIL value varies tremendously over time depending upon individual and team performance, market demand, and innumerable other factors… simply determining who is actually in the class would require individual inquiry,” the NCAA’s brief said.

On the issue of broadcast NIL, the NCAA challenged the plaintiffs’ 10% figure, noting that the equal distribution of funds does not reflect the true labor market. As an example, the brief brought up how a starting quarterback would make the same as a third-string lineman, while the most popular women’s basketball players would earn less than lesser-known backup football players. It added that 96% of the money would go to men and just 4% for women, resulting in a Title IX violation.

Three appellate judges were skeptical of the NCAA’s Title IX defense at a recent hearing in Johnson v. NCAA, which seeks employee status for college athletes. House v. NCAA is being heard by judge Claudia Wilken, the same judge who presided over landmark NCAA legal battles such as O’Bannon and Alston. She is now tasked with determining whether the experiences of House and fellow plaintiffs Sedona Prince (Oregon women’s basketball) and Tymir Oliver (Illinois football) are consistent with the classes they claim to represent.

House, Prince, and Oliver are being represented by Hagens Berman. The firm has achieved favorable outcomes in the past, including winning 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 video games, among others.

A lot is at stake in this case’s class certification as it will decide whether damages might be awarded to thousands of college athletes or only a few. House’s collegiate career is finally over, but he’s not entirely done with the NCAA just yet.

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Coach Logan
11 months ago

What a laugh. Goodbye non revenue sports.

Observing
Reply to  Coach Logan
11 months ago

Why are you even on this website, the majority of news is ncaa related

Coach Logan
Reply to  Observing
11 months ago

This lawsuit could end college swimming. Why are you on this website if your reading comprehension is below that of a middle schoolers?

Observing
Reply to  Coach Logan
11 months ago

Did you even read the article?

Last fall, House’s attorneys made the case for four classes: one injunctive relief class encompassing all Division I athletes who competed from June 15, 2020 (the date of the complaint) through the case’s judgment, which is slated for trial in Jan. 27, 2025; and three damages classes for football and men’s basketball players, women’s basketball players, and additional sports dating back to 2016. They also argued that players are entitled to broadcast NIL, including 10% of television revenue for football and basketball players.

This isn’t swimmer vs. NCAA it’s collective student athletes: Sedona Prince (Oregon women’s basketball) and Tymir Oliver (Illinois football)

Yes swimming is a non-revenue sport, they’re not going to make… Read more »

World Swimmer
11 months ago

While you argue for Americans to get more sponsorship deals even tho they are already allowed to have them… ask for international student athletes that are cut from all of it.

Admin
Reply to  World Swimmer
11 months ago

That’s not an NCAA thing. That’s a US federal government thing.

collegeswimmer
11 months ago

tell ‘em to bring me my money

Jimmie Boy
11 months ago
Leo
Reply to  Jimmie Boy
11 months ago

LMFAO

Swimfan
11 months ago

A swimmer sueing the NCAA for NIL and broadcast revenue is an absolute joke. Maybe coming from a football or basketball player who is actually being broadcasted may possibly make some sense. But from a swimmer. C’mon. Time to graduate and move on with your life. You’ve already lost at least 3 years of earning potential by hanging on way too long. If there was an NCAA lawsuit, it needs to be against these swimmers swimming collegiately way beyond the years they shoud have been gone and also against these schools bringing in swimmers in the second semester to compete at NCAA’s. Now that is a lawsuit worth actually pursuing. I guess some swimmers feel good beating kids 5-6 years… Read more »

john
Reply to  Swimfan
11 months ago

Sue for what exactly? It sounds like you’re mad that international swimmers are good.

Swim dad
Reply to  john
11 months ago

I’m not mad that they’re good. I’m mad that many of them are so much older than domestic swimmers. There are exceptions. Marchand is amazing. Kos is great. Others as well. Great. But to have guys 24 or 25 (Cal, NC State, ASU) competing against 19-20 year olds or even 22 year old domestic seniors just isn’t right. Nor is it right to bring international kids in second semester just to compete at NCAA’s. Cal was morally wrong for doing it and Georgia was wrong for bringing Sates in second semester last year. He left school as soon as NCAA’s were over and then turned pro. NCAA has a lot of work to do but won’t do it because it’s… Read more »

Observing
Reply to  Swim dad
11 months ago

You want the Olympics to have age groups too? Age doesn’t mean everything, current fastest 100m freestyler in the world is 18. Is it unfair that he has to compete against guys like Chalmers (24) and Dressel (26)?

Just The Facts
11 months ago

Find you a guy that loves you like Grant House loves Grant House

ScottyJ 2.0, LLC
Reply to  Just The Facts
11 months ago

Swimming’s version of TO?

IM FAN
11 months ago

I had no idea Grant House was so involved in this.

While I’m no lawyer the NCAAs counter argument, especially the part about Title IX, seems laughably weak. If I was a betting man it seems like they’re about to get torn to shreds again, it doesn’t seem like their administrative culture has caught on than no one gives one about their ideals of amateurism, and they really do not have a leg to stand on regarding fairness and equity at all.

It is a shame though since I think the sudden decline in the NCAAs power is going to actually be to the detriment of unprofitable college sports, especially since it seems like college football and it’s… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by IM FAN
olde coach
Reply to  IM FAN
11 months ago

Couldn’t agree more……..it is like the “Wild West” with NIL and folks jumping in and out of the portal. I think some of the 4th – 7th rounders in the recent NFL along with the undrafted free agents are taking pay cuts. Same with WNBA players. Unfortunately, I see dark clouds gathering for non revenue sports.

Andrew
11 months ago

I just can’t take this seriously lol

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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