NCAA to Pay $208.7 Million in Settlement Over Cost of Attendance Scholarships

Thousands of college athletes who received traditional sports scholarships rather than a new version that covers the full cost of attending school will be compensated for the difference under a $208.7 million settlement reached Friday night between the NCAA and plaintiffs in a presumptive class-action antitrust lawsuit against the association and 11 major conferences.

The deal, which must be approved by a federal judge, would be the second-largest legal settlement in the NCAA’s history. Similar litigation in a case led by Stanford football football player Jason White ended in 2008 with an agreement worth just under $230 million.

According to documents filed Friday night, for athletes covered by the settlement who played their sport for four years, the average settlement payout will be nearly $6,800. In addition, if the proposed agreement is approved, athletes who are eligible for a payment will not have to file a claim form — they will simply receive a check.

The payout amounts will be based on the number of years the athletes were on scholarship and on the difference between the value of the scholarship they received and the cost of attendance at their school at the time.

Athletes who have remaining eligibility when they receive a check will be able to accept the money without any impact on their ability to continue playing in college.

Friday’s proposed agreement, at its simplest level, would apply to scholarship athletes in Division I men’s basketball, Division I women’s basketball or Bowl Subdivision football whose award was limited by NCAA rules to basically tuition, room, board, books and fees. Those athletes would be eligible for money from the settlement if they were on scholarship during the 2009-10 school year — or if they were on scholarship at any time between then and Aug. 1, 2015, when an NCAA rules change let Division I schools begin giving athletes in any sport a scholarship that covers the full cost of attendance.

However, under certain circumstances, settlement money also will be available to scholarship athletes in the three covered sports even if their school, after the rules change, chose not to provide a scholarship covering the full cost of attendance. These athletes would be eligible for settlement money if their school has provided, is providing, or by June 1 indicates an intent to start providing during the 2017-18 school year any money toward the difference between the value of a traditional athletic scholarship and the full cost of attendance.

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SOURCE: Steve Berkowitz