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College Athletes on Brink of Historic $2.8 Billion Settlement: A New Era in Collegiate Sports

Posted by Paul Saluja | May 23, 2024

The landscape of college athletics is on the cusp of a monumental transformation. A $2.8 billion settlement in the landmark House v. NCAA case is poised to reshape the future of college sports, marking the end of the traditional amateurism model and ushering in a new era of revenue sharing with athletes. This settlement is not only significant for the present-day athletes but also compensates past athletes for previous restrictions on earning from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

Key Highlights of the Settlement

Revenue Sharing and Athlete Compensation

The NCAA Board of Governors' recent vote to accept the anti-trust lawsuit settlement is a pivotal moment in collegiate sports history. The SEC and Pac-12 are set to vote soon, with expectations to approve moving forward with the settlement. This agreement includes a $2.8 billion settlement that compensates athletes for prior NIL restrictions and establishes a framework for future revenue sharing.

Starting as soon as Fall 2025, current athletes in Power Four conferences could see up to $22 million annually distributed among them, representing approximately 22% of the schools' annual revenue. This shift is a historic move towards recognizing the substantial contributions athletes make to the multi-billion dollar college sports industry.

Financial Breakdown and Implications

The settlement details that the NCAA will cover 40% of the $2.8 billion over the next decade, equating to $277 million annually. This will be funded by reducing revenue shares to Division I schools. The remaining 60% will be distributed among the 32 Division I conferences based on a revenue distribution formula.

The Power Five conferences, responsible for 24% of the damages, and other conferences face financial adjustments as they contribute to this settlement. The settlement also raises concerns about the financial sustainability of smaller schools and non-revenue sports programs.

Challenges and Future Considerations

Title IX and Roster Sizes

While the settlement is groundbreaking, it raises questions about Title IX compliance and the future of non-revenue sports. Title IX mandates gender equity in sports, and there is concern that the revenue-sharing model may exacerbate inequalities. Additionally, the restructuring of roster sizes and scholarship limits is expected, which could significantly impact team dynamics and athlete opportunities across various sports.

Governance and NIL Collectives

The settlement is expected to prompt the Power Four conferences to design a new governance structure separate from other conferences. This new structure will likely include unlimited scholarships and changes to roster limits, providing more flexibility to certain sports programs.

Furthermore, the NCAA is proposing a new enforcement infrastructure to regulate pay-for-play and booster-led NIL collectives, ensuring that compensation aligns with true NIL activities and providing economic incentives for schools to manage NIL collectives internally.

Legal and Financial Implications

Antitrust Exemption and Financial Burden

As part of the settlement, plaintiffs will waive the right to file antitrust lawsuits against the NCAA for ten years, and pending antitrust cases will be dropped. This agreement may be bolstered by potential Congressional action, granting the NCAA an antitrust exemption, although legislative progress has been slow.

The financial burden of the settlement is significant, with projections indicating substantial reductions in NCAA revenue distributions. The FBS Power Five could see reductions between $597.6 million to $730.4 million over ten years, while the Group of Five and FCS conferences face their own financial challenges.


The $2.8 billion settlement in the House v. NCAA case marks a transformative moment in college athletics. While it provides long-overdue compensation to athletes and paves the way for a new revenue-sharing model, it also introduces new challenges and complexities. Athletic departments must navigate Title IX compliance, financial sustainability, and governance changes to adapt to this new era.

At Saluja Law, we are committed to helping athletes, schools, and stakeholders understand and navigate these significant changes. Stay informed with us as we continue to monitor and analyze the implications of this landmark settlement.

For more information or to discuss how this settlement might affect you or your institution, please contact Saluja Law by visiting us at

About the Author

Paul Saluja

Paul Saluja is a distinguished legal professional with over two decades of experience serving clients across a spectrum of legal domains. Graduating from West Virginia State University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, he continued his academic journey at Ohio Northern University, gr...

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