NCAA, Power 5 Conferences To Begin Paying Players

NCAA | Image by Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock
NCAA | Image by Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

The NCAA and college sports’ five biggest conferences announced Thursday that they reached a nearly $2.8 billion settlement on antitrust claims, which will allow collegiate athletes to begin getting paid.

This settlement would pay thousands of former collegiate athletes damages for the funds they missed out on while playing their sports while also setting up a revenue-sharing system for current and future collegiate athletes as soon as the upcoming school year, according to the Associated Press.

A revenue-sharing system is expected to give schools the option to commit up to $21 million each year for athletes to be paid, with the 69 total schools across the five conferences committing a total of $300 million over 10 years, per AP.

The $300 million committed during this time will include the damages from the settlement and future funds to pay athletes, though it remains unclear how much the athletes will receive.

NCAA president Charlie Baker released a joint statement with the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-12, and Southeastern Conference and said that the settlement was an “important step in the continuing reform of college sports that will provide benefits to student-athletes and provide clarity in college athletics across all divisions for years to come.”

“This settlement is also a road map for college sports leaders and Congress to ensure this uniquely American institution can continue to provide unmatched opportunity for millions of students,” he added, per The Athletic.

Steve Berman, one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs in the antitrust lawsuit, said the settlement was a major victory because it would “bring college sports into the 21st century,” noting that the collegiate athletes will now receive a “fair share of the billions of dollars of revenue that they generate for their schools.”

“Our clients are the bedrock of the NCAA’s multibillion-dollar business and finally can be compensated in an equitable and just manner for their extraordinary athletic talents,” he said, per KPBS.

Although many have applauded the changes that will come with the settlement, others have brought up concerns about whether only larger schools and sports will be able to thrive under the new system.

“My greatest fear of all of this is what we’re asking for, what is that going to do to all the sports on every campus?” questioned Florida softball coach Tim Walton, per AP.

“What’s it going to do to some of the programs that were relying on their conference and the NCAA for the money? What’s that going to do? Are they dropping programs? Are they dropping sports?” he asked.

The changes have yet to be set in stone, as Judge Claudia A. Wilken for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California still has to approve the settlement, which is expected to happen sometime within the next 45 days, per The Athletic.

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