Shub & Johns seeks to Represent Division I College Athletes to Recover Wages

a student athlete sweating.The law firm of Shub & Johns is investigating a potential class action lawsuit on behalf of college students who currently play any NCAA Division I sport, or who have done so within the past three years, to potentially recover unpaid wages for the time they spent playing their sport. Specifically, S&J is investigating whether these student-athletes – even those on athletic scholarships – are legally considered “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws. If so, these student-athletes would potentially be entitled to back pay and minimum wages.

NCAA History with Student-Athletes

Courts have historically been hostile to such claims; in 2016 the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a similar challenge brought by a group of student athletes. In 2021, however, the Supreme Court decided a case called NCAA v. Alston, which rejected the NCAA’s reliance on its “revered tradition of amateurism in college sports” as a way for it to avoid complying with the antitrust laws. Justice Kavanaugh wrote in a concurring opinion that “those traditions alone cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student athletes who are not fairly compensated. Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate.”

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2021, a handful of student-athletes brough suit to essentially extend the Alston court’s ruling in the antitrust context to the wage/employment arena. In 2021, a federal court in Pennsylvania rejected a request by the NCAA to dismiss these claims. That case is being prosecuted by student-athletes from the following schools: Villanova, Cornell, Sacred Heart, Fordham, Drexel and Penn. It is now on appeal in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and was argued in February of 2023. S&J partner Ben Johns represents a law professor from the University of Illinois School of Law as an amicus (“friend of the court”) in the Third Circuit appeal, who filed a brief advocating for the student’s position.

What Division One Athletes Can do

S&J is interested in speaking with current and recent DI athletes at other schools to potentially pursue cases seeking wages, backpay and other unpaid compensation by virtue of being an “employee” as a matter of law during their college career. Please fill out the form below if you would like to speak with us. There is no charge for doing so, and any formal representation would be undertaken on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee due to us unless the case is successful.

Fill out the attached form and tell Shub & Johns your story today!

NCAA Student Athlete Intake Form