NCAA, Power 5 Agree to Deal That Could Bring 'New Era'

It would see college athletes paid directly for the first time
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2024 1:30 AM CDT
Agreement Could 'Usher in a New Age in College Sports'
FILE - Baylor's Matt Ritchey stands by the Big 12 Conference logo on the field during the team's NCAA college football game against TCU in Waco, Texas, Oct. 13, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

The National Collegiate Athletics Association and all of the "Power Five" conferences have agreed to a deal that would allow schools to pay players directly—a move being called "groundbreaking" and a "landmark," as such payments have never before been allowed in the century-plus that college sports have been played. The multibillion-dollar agreement would settle three federal antitrust cases currently pending against the NCAA. From coverage on the topic:

  • The New York Times headline sums it up: "Decades in the Making, a New Era Dawns for the NCAA: Paying Athletes Directly."
  • CBS Sports echoes the "new era" idea: "A new era of college athletics is upon us ... College sports is on the precipice of changing forever after the NCAA Board of Governors and every Power Five conference agreed to destroy the amateurism model and share revenue with players."

  • Division I athletes dating back to 2016 are eligible to join the settlement class and receive a share, ESPN reports. They'd be compensated for past restrictions on making money from their name, image, and likeness; in return, they'd have to agree not to sue the NCAA for antitrust issues and drop any complaints they have in the three pending cases.
  • If a judge approves the settlement terms, which could take several months, revenue sharing is expected to begin with current athletes starting in fall 2025.
  • But there are still pending legal issues facing the NCAA, and athletes could potentially opt out of this agreement and join a separate antitrust lawsuit not settled by this deal. ESPN's piece has more on that here.
  • The NCAA has agreed to pay $2.8 billion in this deal—a lot, but also a lot less than it could have been on the hook for had the case gone to trial. CBS has more on that in its piece here.
  • The Big Ten, Southeastern, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast, and Big 12 conferences voted to accept the terms. The Wall Street Journal has more on the aspects of the deal that some of the smaller conferences are not happy with.
  • Some context from CNN: College athletics "have traditionally competed under the guise of amateurism that allowed a seedy underbelly of hidden payments and compensation to flourish." This move marks a "turning point" from that model, the outlet says.
For more, the AP has an explainer here. (More NCAA stories.)

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