The NCAA, which represents some 1,100 schools and more than 500,000 athletes, is no stranger to lawsuits. It has been in court off and on since the early 1980s defending the amateur athlete model at the heart of college athletics.
But it is now facing some of the biggest legal challenges in its history, spurred by a 2021 Supreme Court ruling in which justices ruled 9-0 that the NCAA cannot limit education-related benefits that colleges can offer their athletes. In a blistering concurring opinion in the Alston case, Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested the organization may be violating antitrust law.
THE HOUSE CASE
House vs. House the NCAA is a class-action lawsuit in the Northern District of California before Judge Claudia Wilken, whose previous rulings in NCAA cases paved the way for college athletes to profit from their fame and for schools to direct more money into their hands.
Legal experts say an NCAA loss in this case could upend college athletics as we know it. The lawsuit, brought by Arizona State swimmer Grant House in 2020, could potentially cost the NCAA and major conferences more than $4 billion in damages and lead to athlete revenue sharing of those multibillion-dollar television deals for big-time college football and March Madness basketball .
ARE ATHLETES EMPLOYEES?
Two separate issues in front of the National Labor Relations Board — a complaint against USC and the Pac-12 and a unionization effort by the men’s basketball team at Dartmouth — along with a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania filed by former Villanova football player Trey Johnson could lead to college athlete being granted employee status. Johnson and others are seeking hourly wages similar to those earned in work-study programs.
The NCAA and its member schools have insisted they do not consider athlete employees who can collectively