Former Florida Gators defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is the lead plaintiff in a federal antitrust class-action lawsuit filed Friday which accuses the NCAA and 11 conferences of capping the value of athletic scholarships and therefore fixing the grant-in-aid student-athletes can receive while attending universities.
According to Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, who first reported the lawsuit after receiving and publishing a full copy of the 65-page document, it is the first of its kind to include females as plaintiffs and name 11 conferences (not just the primary five) as co-defendants.
The plaintiffs are not only seeking monetary damage but more importantly “challenging the anticompetitive rules of the NCAA and those conferences limiting the grant-in-aid money eligible to its full-scholarship athletes.”
By only covering “tuition, required institutional fees, room and board, and required course-related books,” the grant-in-aid scholarships “leave full-scholarship student athletes with a significant shortfall” by not covering the “entire cost of attending college,” according to Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP, the law firm bringing the suit.
Various studies have shown individual athletes are shorted $3,000 to over $5,000 every year, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars per year for all full-scholarship athletes. Yet, the NCAA and its conferences are receiving billions of dollars every year from the blood, sweat and tears of these players in the form of television rights, marketing, clothing sales, among other means of revenue, but they deny athletes the compensation they would otherwise receive for their services in a competitive market.
The complaint also alleges that defendants’ rules effect group boycotts of any institution or player that refuses to comply, resulting in athletes being unable to market their services as football and men’s and women’s basketball players at competitive rates, resulting in substantial economic harm to them.
Floyd, who was selected with the No. 23 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, is the biggest name involved in the lawsuit, which was filed Friday at a U.S. District Court in Minnesota.
This is not the first time Floyd has butted heads with the NCAA.
In September 2011, the organization suspended him for two games and required Floyd to arrange repayment of $2,700 to a charity after ruling that he violated preferential treatment rules prior to attending Florida.
The Gators stood firmly behind Floyd, who was eventually adopted by the man whose financial assistance resulted in the punishment, and did so again one year later when a report surfaced about Floyd exposing a loophole in the NCAA’s system.