Sharrif Floyd lead plaintiff in suit against NCAA

By Adam Silverstein
April 26, 2014

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.


  1. Dave Massey says:

    Good for him. He got a raw deal and now he is fighting back. The NCAA needs to be taken down a notch anyways with their subjective handling of the rules.

  2. Sharon Milner says:

    Everything changed a while back when coaches started making over a million dollars and the TV income exploded.
    This situation needs an entire rehaul quickly!

  3. TST says:

    Good . May the Hypotheses of the Greedy NCAA be known to all bye a court of law !!

  4. Timmy T says:

    The term, “free ride”, needs to become a reality. Everything needs to be taken care of, EXCEPT personal items or purchases.

  5. SW FL Joe says:

    Any money these players receive in excess of $600 will be taxable income. Once that happens, the IRS could rule ALL benefits these players receive are payments for services rendered therefore fully taxable. Shariff should be thankful 1) he was able to get into UF and 2) he didn’t leave owing thousands in student loans like the average student.

    • Only if it gets paid as a 1099 independent contractor. Could give them a special classification.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        going get even uglier if they follow through with the ridiculous Michigan ruling allowing athletes to unionize. Their first demand will be to provide them free tax accountants!

    • Daniel M. says:

      I’m all for the profit pie being shared with the athletes on some level. But no matter what compensation scenario you have, it raises countless questions about the potential for other college athletes to get screwed because of inequities in the system.

      Here’s a jumping off point:

      -per semester stipend payment around a couple thousand bucks.
      -increased campus amenities.
      -increasing pay scale based on remaining enrolled and athletically active. Senior makes significantly more than freshman.
      -fund to provide limited transportation opportunities to athletes families.
      -some vague NCAA wording about meals and benefits that will create huge loopholes. NCAA throwing a bone without admitting it
      -creation of a big fund that will give financial support to former athletes, especially in business pursuits. This is a cinch
      considering the NCAA’s deep, very deep pockets and their desire to show how caring they are.

      It’s a nightmare to think how difficult this would be to implement unless it’s confined to football. Pay the revenue sports (football, basketball) only? Unfair. Pay all sports? Impossible.

      The biggest sticking point will likely be payments to athletes. I guarantee it will create a seedy, even more aggressive high school recruiting environment. Recruiting will have free agency underbelly to it. Because any system that provides payments to the athletes will create avenues for money to flow undetected to them. I just see this getting very ugly. I just can’t imagine the “board up their ass” NCAA not cringing violently at the thought of athletes receiving cash.

  6. SW FL Joe says:

    Since the school controls what the athletes do, where they do it, when they do it and how they do it, the athletes would not meet the IRS definition of an independent contractor but that of an employee. Currently no money goes to the players so there’s not much the IRS can do. But once cash payments are made you can bet the government will get involved

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