Entertainment & Sports Law

New antitrust suit against NCAA says players' compensation caps should be lifted

Sports labor lawyer Jeffrey Kessler filed an antitrust suit on Monday that seeks to lift compensation caps for college basketball and football players.

The suit (PDF), filed in New Jersey federal court, names as defendants the NCAA and the five largest college conferences, report USA Today and ESPN. The complaint was filed on behalf of four players by Kessler and several other lawyers from Winston & Strawn.

The proposed class action claims the defendants restrict competition by capping scholarship amounts. “As a result of these illegal restrictions,” the suit says, “market forces have been shoved aside and substantial damages have been inflicted upon a host of college athletes whose services have yielded riches only for others. This class action is necessary to end the NCAA’s unlawful cartel, which is inconsistent with the most fundamental principles of antitrust law.”

Kessler tells USA Today that other pending suits against the NCAA are on secondary issues while his suit is “a frontal attack on the basic unfairness of the system.” Kessler’s suit seeks an injunction barring the scholarship caps.

A different suit filed earlier this month seeks damages on behalf of former scholarship players in the five power conferences. The suit seeks to collect the difference between the value of a college scholarship and the full cost of attending college.

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