NCAAF: Report: Power 5, NCAA reach historic agreement to pay players

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The SEC and Pac-12 joined the three other power conferences – the Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 – and the NCAA in agreeing on a multi-billion-dollar settlement that would allow schools to directly pay student-athletes for the first time in NCAA history, ESPN reported on Thursday.

“The five autonomy conferences and the NCAA agreeing to settlement terms is an important step in the continuing reform of college sports that will provide benefits to student-athletes and provide clarity in college athletics across all divisions for years to come,” NCAA president Charlie Baker and the five power conference commissioners said in a joint statement Thursday evening.

With the NCAA’s board agreeing to the terms of the settlement — which would also resolve three federal antitrust cases — former college athletes are one step closer to getting over $2.7 billion in back damages over the next decade because of previous restrictions on name, image and likeness (NIL) deals.

Future athletes also would benefit, as the Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten — three of the defendants in the case — are hoping to put a system in place that would give schools the power to pay them about $20 million per year in permissive revenue sharing.

Such payments wouldn’t start until fall of 2025.

The ACC and Big 12 accepted the terms of the settlement on Tuesday. The Big Ten joined in on Wednesday.

Per the terms of the agreement, athletes won’t be able to sue the NCAA in future antitrust lawsuits and must drop their complaints in three current lawsuits: Carter v. NCAA, Hubbard v. NCAA and House v. NCAA.

Former Colorado football player Alex Fontenot’s lawsuit against the NCAA is not included in this pending settlement. Fontenot’s suit is regarding how the NCAA shares TV revenues with players.

The settlement is not yet official as it requires the approval of U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, who is presiding over the three antitrust cases. Also, if players choose to join Fontenot’s lawsuit, the settlement agreed on by the NCAA and Power 5 could be rendered null and void.

–Field Level Media

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