Class action lawsuit an outgrowth of a California-led campus movement
supported by the Steelworkers
PITTSBURGH, Feb. 22 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — The United Steelworkers (USW) hailed the federal antitrust lawsuit filed last Friday in Los Angeles by college student-athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The suit seeks to prohibit the NCAA from telling member colleges they cannot
offer athletic scholarships up to the full cost of attendance.
The class-action claim was brought on behalf of Division I-A football
players and major-college basketball players, whose programs generate the
overwhelming amount of revenue that flows into college athletic departments.
The suit is an outgrowth of the work of the Collegiate Athletes Coalition, an
advocacy group started by former UCLA football player Ramogi Huma, with
support from the USW.
“From day one, we saw that the NCAA took very good care of everybody in
Division-1 football and basketball, except the student-athletes,” said Leo W.
Gerard, USW International President. “When a major football program produces
annual revenues of more than $50 million, and nearly $40 million of profits,
how can the NCAA tell the school that it can’t provide its players, many from
low-income backgrounds, with a thousand dollars or so of incidental school
Despite the revenues, athletes are the only students subject to aid
restrictions imposed by an agreement among universities. Talented students in
other fields like the arts or applied sciences can be bid upon by individual
colleges, without limits on the total value of their scholarship packages. The
suit asks for the restoration of funds for incidental expenses, which the NCAA
eliminated in 1973 in a cost-cutting move.
The suit alleges that “the (grant-in-aid) cap is simply a cost containment
mechanism that enables the NCAA and its member institutions to preserve more
of the benefits of their enterprise for themselves.” The NCAA’s current
definition of a scholarship, which is limited to covering tuition and fees,
room and board and required books, is by its own admission about $2,500 less
than a student would incur to attend the school. Costs not covered include the
student-athlete’s travel costs, laundry, supplies, insurance and other
incidental expenses outside of the NCAA definition of a scholarship.
Tim Waters (412) 999-3587
Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444