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NCAA Athletes Allowed to Pursue $1 Billion Compensation Case

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association must face claims by tens of thousands of current and former students testing the limits on how much compensation they can get for years of playing basketball and football.

Friday’s ruling by a federal judge allows about 21,000 students who played on teams from 2010 through 2015 to proceed with a case seeking damages of more than $1 billion. The students seek to be reimbursed for the difference between capped scholarships they received and the actual cost of school attendance, a gap estimated to be $3,000 to $4,000 a year for each.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, comes almost a year after a federal appeals court backed a practice among college conferences of limiting student-athlete compensation to stipends of as much as $7,000. Prior to last August, NCAA rules permitted payments to players only for tuition, room, board, books and fees.

The judge rejected a request for dismissal of the claims without addressing the merits of the two separate lawsuits. But if the students ultimately win, they may be entitled to coverage for a range of expenses including graduate school tuition, health benefits or insurance, plaintiff lawyer Jeff Kessler said in court on Wednesday. The revised rules would not allow the athletes to be paid to play sports, in keeping with their amateur status. – READ MORE

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