April 15, 2024

The price for the NCAA’s antitrust reckoning could exceed $5 billion

For decades, the NCAA and its member institutions have used the outdated concept of amateurism to deny college athletes the opportunity to get fair compensation for their skills, efforts, and sacrifices. The reckoning is ongoing. And it’s going to be expensive.

In a recent item from USA Today regarding a pending antitrust lawsuit that could add more than $900 million to the current bill, the total potential liability is estimated to be $5.1 billion.

The latest potential item of recovery comes from a class-action lawsuit seeking academic achievement payments to athletes back to the 2019-20 school year. Led by former Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, the damages when trebled (as required by federal antitrust law) could reach $939 million.

This is just part of the chaos that the college system deserves for years of plain-sight antitrust violations. They’ve used the umbrella of the NCAA to grossly restrict the benefits available to “students” who help make billions as “athletes.” And it comes at a time when the current custodians of the lingering clustermess are hoping that Congress will give them a silver bullet that re-turns the tables.

The truth is that the system was already broken. It’s been broken. It was broken to the benefit of the stewards of sport. Now that the breakage is breaking in favor of the players, it’s an five-alarm fire for the Power 5 conferences.

Too bad, college fat cats. You made this mess by exploiting the players, and it worked for you until it didn’t. Now, you have to clean it up — and come up with a viable way to fix it.