The former NCAA players who are suing over the use of their names and images said, according to Bloomberg News, that they won’t seek damages in addition to their bid for a share of $800 million in fees the collegiate association gets annually for the televised games. The NCAA has current media rights contracts with CBS Sports, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN Plus, and Turner Sports for coverage of its 88 championships. According to the official NCAA website, ESPN and its associated networks have rights to 21 championships, CBS to 67, and Turner Sports to one.
“We’re not asking for any money to be paid,” Michael Hausfeld, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said according to Sports Illustrated during the summary judgment hearing before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken. “We are asking for the restraint to be removed…and then the market will determine how it plays out.”
According to court papers filed in San Francisco, the players and the National Collegiate Athletic Association also said that settlement talks in the case have been unsuccessful. The players listed as plaintiffs include Clemson defensive back Martin Jenkins, Rutgers basketball player J.J. Moore, UTEP tight end Kevin Perry and Cal tight end Bill Tyndall, though the claim is a class action and proposes to represent all scholarship players in FBS football and Division I basketball according to ESPN.
The athletes are not paid despite generating sponsorship, ticket and merchandise revenue in addition to that from TV contracts and Bloomberg News reported that, the case is part of a movement by both current and former college athletes to secure compensation, greater medical benefits and control over their images in a system that considers them to be amateurs.
In March 2014, four players represented by sports attorney Jeffrey L. Kessler filed a class action antitrust lawsuit, alleging that the NCAA and its five dominant conferences are an “unlawful cartel”. The suit charges that NCAA caps on the value of athletic scholarships have “illegally restricted the earning power of football and men’s basketball players while making billions off their labor.”
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