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TMCNet:  Zelle Hofmann Files Class Action to Recover Grant-In-Aid Money for Men and Women Scholarship Athletes

[April 25, 2014]

Zelle Hofmann Files Class Action to Recover Grant-In-Aid Money for Men and Women Scholarship Athletes

MINNEAPOLIS --(Business Wire)--

The law firm of Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP filed a class action lawsuit today against the National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA") and its member institutions that participate in Division I football ("FBS") and Division I men's and women's basketball challenging the anticompetitive rules of the NCAA and those conferences limiting the grant-in-aid ("GIAs") money eligible to its full-scholarship athletes.

This is the first such case that addresses both men's and women's sports and the first that includes a female class representative, Ashley Holliday (Kennesaw State University basketball). Other plaintiffs are Sharrif Floyd (University of Florida Gators football); Kyle Theret (University of Minnesota Gophers football); Duane Bennett (University of Minnesota Gophers football); Chris Stone (Arkansas State University football); John Bohannon (University of Texas - El Paso Miners basketball); and Chris Davenport (University of North Florida basketball).

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, alleges that GIAs provided to full-scholarship athletes fail to cover the entire cost of attending college. GIAs only cover tuition, required institutional fees, room and board, and required course-related books. Though the NCAA's Bylaws define "Cost of Attendance" as including not only those items covered by the GIAs, but also supplies, transportation and "other expenses related to attendance at the institution," the GIAs leve full-scholarship athletes with a significant shortfall.


The complaint further alleges that the rules restrict those athletes from earning any compensation to cover the shortfalls. 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.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed here: http://www.zelle.com/assets/htmldocuments/NCAA%20Complaint%2004252014.pdf.

Further information can be provided by Richard M. Hagstrom (rhagstrom@zelle.com) of Zelle Hofmann, who is co-lead counsel. Plaintiffs and the class are also represented by the law firm of Gustafson Gluek PLCC.

About Zelle Hofmann:

Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP is a national litigation and dispute resolution law firm with offices in Boston, Dallas, London, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The Firm excels at handling insurance, antitrust and other complex litigation on both a national and global scale. The Firm also has an affiliate office in Beijing, People's Republic of China. For more information about Zelle Hofmann, visit www.zelle.com. For more information about the firm's Zealous Women initiative, visit www.zealouswomen.com.


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