A potential class-action lawsuit that threatens the NCAA amateur student-athlete model has the association fighting back in court.
A federal-court filing on Thursday revealed just how big the stakes are and what college officials fear could be the end of certain athletic programs at some schools, including football, at the FBS level.
Specifically, should college football and men’s basketball players be paid? Here’s what Texas A.D. Deloss Dodds and women’s A.D. Christine Plonsky had to say in the filing:
Texas “has no interest in a model that would force us to professionalize two sports to the detriment of the balance of the athletics department’s sports, fitness and educational programs.”
Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch went even further.
The school ”might cease playing Division I or Football Bowl Subdivision sports entirely if pay-for-play became a reality…
“Instituting a pay-for-play model, even if the payments are deferred to after graduation would change the nature of the relationship Wake Forest has with its football and men’s basketball student-athletes. It would, essentially, turn those teams into professional squads. That would not be acceptable to Wake Forest.”
One issue that has university officials worried – Title IX and gender equity concerns. California State University system chancellor Timothy White included this in his statement:
“Paying male athletes for their participation in sports would seriously undermine the objectives of Title IX and CSU’s ability to remain in Title IX compliance.”
These filings come as a result of a judge’s ruling in January allowed plaintiff’s lawyers to proceed with efforts to have the case certified as a class-action. The suit, initially filed against the NCAA and video-game maker Electronic Arts back in 2009, contends that, among other issues, defendants violated anti-trust law by conspiring to fix at zero the amount of compensation athletes can receive for the use of their names, images and likenesses in products or media while they are in school.