Plaintiffs include current and former student-athletes that have challenged the NCAA’s former rules capping athletically related financial aid packages for student-athletes, arguing new rules allow for athletically related aid up to the full cost of attendance. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants conspired to suppress competition by agreeing to and enforcing restrictive NCAA bylaws that cap the amount of athletically related financial aid and other benefits to student-athletes. Defendants are and continue to be public and open about their participation in NCAA activities. The student-athletes asked the court to certify three classes of student-athletes who have received a financial aid package, referred to as a grant-in-aid, or GIA, since March 5, 2010 — a class of Division I FBS football student-athletes, a class of Division I men’s basketball student-athletes and a class of Division I women’s basketball student-athletes. The Defendants deny the Plaintiffs’ claim that Defendants violated the antitrust laws or did anything wrong. The Court has not ruled on the merits of these claims.Top
In a class action lawsuit, one or more people, called “Class Representatives,” sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people together are Plaintiffs to the litigation and are referred to as the “Class” or “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who choose to exclude themselves from the Class (see Section 21 of the Notice).
The Defendants, or parties being sued in the cases, are the NCAA, the Pac-12 Conference, The Big Ten Conference, Inc., the Big 12 Conference, Inc., Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Athletic Conference, Inc., Mountain West Conference, Sun Belt Conference, and Western Athletic Conference (collectively, “Defendants”). Together, the Class Representatives and the Defendants are called the “Parties.”Top
If you fall under one of the Class definitions below for the Settlement, you are a Class Member in the Settlement and may be eligible for a cash distribution from the settlement fund. For purposes of each definition, the term “Full Athletics Grant-In-Aid” means either (1) athletically related financial aid for any particular academic term (year, semester, or quarter), in an amount equal to or greater than tuition and fees, room and board, and required course-related books, or (2) athletically related financial aid that was not equal to or greater than tuition and fees, room and board, and required course-related books only because it was reduced by the applicable NCAA member institution by an amount of nonathletically related financial aid received by the student-athlete. See Paragraphs 11–12 of the Notice for more detail about how distributions will be calculated.
Division I FBS Football Class: All current and former NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (“FBS”) football student-athletes who, at any time from March 5, 2010 through March 21, 2017, received from an NCAA member institution for at least one academic term (such as a semester or quarter) a Full Athletics Grant-In-Aid (defined above).
Division I Men’s Basketball Class: All current and former NCAA Division I men’s basketball student-athletes who, at any time from March 5, 2010 through March 21, 2017, received from an NCAA member institution for at least one academic term (such as a semester or quarter) a Full Athletics Grant-In-Aid.
Division I Women’s Basketball Class: All current and former NCAA Division I women’s basketball student-athletes who, at any time from March 5, 2010 through March 21, 2017, received from an NCAA member institution for at least one academic term (such as a semester or quarter) a Full Athletics Grant-In-Aid.
Excluded from the Classes are the Defendants, and their officers, directors, legal representatives, heirs, successors, and wholly or partly-owned subsidiaries or affiliated companies, Class Counsel and their employees, and their immediate family members, and the judicial officers, and associated court staff assigned to the cases involved in this Settlement and their immediate family members.
The date of Preliminary Approval was March 21, 2017.
All of the official definitions of terms in the Notice are set out in detail in the Settlement Agreement, which is posted here.Top
For purposes of this Settlement, athletic grant-in-aid is athletically related financial aid provided by NCAA Division I member institutions to participating student-athletes.Top
COA is the estimate of the total cost for a student to attend a particular college or university for an academic year (fall through spring) in accordance with guidelines established by federal law. It includes, among other things, tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation and certain kinds of personal expenses. Colleges and universities may adjust their COAs year to year to reflect changes in expenses.
Here are some COAs that colleges and universities reported for the 2016-2017 academic year. These costs are for undergraduates living on campus and enrolled in liberal arts programs.
Private colleges and universities:
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) – $67,613
Duke University (Durham, NC) – $69,959
Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA) – $63,438
Rice University (Houston, TX) – $60,518
Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA) – $67,291
Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA) – $66,110
Public universities (COAs for state residents):
University of Arizona (Tucson) – $28,217
University of California (Berkeley) – $34,972
University of Idaho (Moscow) – $20,640
University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) – $24,630
University of Massachusetts (Amherst) – $29,997
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) – $28,776
The central issue in the case is Plaintiffs’ allegation that the Defendants violated the antitrust laws by agreeing to and enforcing restrictive NCAA bylaws that cap the amount of athletically related financial aid and other benefits to student-athletes, including by capping athletic scholarships at a defined GIA amount that was lower than the full COA. Plaintiffs allege that absent the Defendants’ agreement to those NCAA bylaws, schools would have provided at least the full COA. The Defendants have denied the plaintiffs’ allegations that Defendants have violated the antitrust laws. In January 2015, after this lawsuit was started, the NCAA amended its bylaws to allow colleges and universities to provide up to COA in athletically related aid. Most of the schools in the conferences named in this lawsuit began providing full COA under the amended bylaws.Top
If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can get free help by contacting the Settlement Administrator using any of the methods listed in Question 31 of the Notice, or by visiting www.GrantInAidSettlement.com. Please note, that at this time, a list of known class members is not available. Please check back on August 21, 2017.
You are not required to pay anyone to assist you in obtaining information about the Settlement.Top
The total Settlement amount provides for Defendants to pay $208,664,445.00. As calculated by Plaintiffs’ expert economist, this amount provides distribution to all eligible Class Members of nearly the full amount of the difference between the GIA prior to January, 2015 and the COA at each of their respective schools. Eligible Class Members will receive distributions under the Settlement with no claim form required.Top
For Class Members who attended schools that provide, have provided, or have indicated by or before June 1, 2017 an intent to start providing any portion of the gap between the athletic grant-in-aid allowed prior to August 1, 2015 and full cost of attendance to at least one Class Member at that school, each Class Member will receive a distribution that is calculated specifically to his or her school. The distribution will be calculated either by using: (a) the actual value of the gap between the athletically related aid he or she received and the COA calculated by his or her school; or (b) the gap between the average grant-in-aid and average COA when actual values are not reasonably available or require unreasonable efforts to process into useable form, minus (for both (a) and (b)) any nonathletically related financial aid (other than Special Assistance Fund or Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund distributions, Pell Grants, and certain exempt grants) the Class Member received above his or her GIA (the “gap”). So for example, to the extent the gap calculation is based on the average values for particular schools (for instance, University A and College B), each Class Member who attended University A would receive the same distribution amount for a given full academic year as every other Class Member who attended University A that year, and all Class Members who attended College B would receive the same amount for a given academic year as all other College B Class Members for that year (except, in both examples, for Class Members who received nonathletically related financial aid). But Class Members who attended University A would receive a higher average amount than those who attended College B if the average gap at University A was higher than at College B during that year. The school-specific gap calculation will be the average of each school’s listed “in-state” gap and listed “out-of-state” gap, unless Defendants provide data that allows for a distinction between in- and out-of-state Class Members (in which case the gap calculation will account for in- or out-of-state cost differences). Distributions to Class Members who only attended school for part of an academic year will be adjusted lower accordingly.
For a Class Member who received full COA for an academic year from additional nonathletically related financial aid (other than Special Assistance Fund or Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund distributions, Pell Grants, and certain exempt grants), he or she will not receive any distribution because he or she already received his or her full COA. But if a Class Member had only a portion of his or her gap covered from additional nonathletically related financial aid (other than Special Assistance Fund or Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund distributions, Pell Grants, and certain exempt grants), he or she would receive a distribution that is proportional to his or her gap not covered by this aid (if Defendants provide data that allows for the calculation).
Finally, if there are sufficient unclaimed funds, they will be distributed to locatable Class Members in the same proportionate shares as the first round of distribution if feasible. Alternatively, if there are insufficient funds to feasibly redistribute to all Class Members, then any funds unclaimed by a Class Member would be redistributed within schools in proportionate shares to other locatable Class Members at the same school, based on unclaimed monies for each school. If there are insufficient funds to economically redistribute in that manner, any unclaimed amounts will escheat to the state of the relevant Class Member’s most recent known address.
In any event, no Class Member will receive a distribution from the fund for any given year that exceeds his or her gap for that year. If the distributions of unclaimed funds would cause such a circumstance to occur, any excess amount will escheat to the state of the relevant Class Member’s most recent known address.Top
A Class Member will be eligible for distribution for each school term in the class period during which the Class Member: (a) attended any Division I COA School; and (b) did not receive full cost of attendance (excluding Special Assistance Fund or Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund distributions, Pell Grants, and certain other exempt grants).
COA Schools are defined as those schools that provide, have provided, or have indicated by or before June 1, 2017 an intent to start providing any portion of the gap between the GIA allowed prior to August 1, 2015 and full cost of attendance to at least one Class Member at that school. THE COA SCHOOLS ARE LISTED AT HERE AND WILL BE UPDATED PERIODICALLY UP UNTIL THE LAST DAY TO OPT OUT, WHICH IS SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 (see paragraph 21 of the Notice for more information on opting out).
An eligible Class Member’s distribution will be calculated either by using: (a) the actual value of the gap between the athletically related financial aid he or she received and the COA calculated by his or her school; or (b) the gap between the average grant-in-aid and average COA when actual values are not reasonably available or require unreasonable efforts to process into useable form, minus (for both (a) and (b)) any nonathletically related financial aid (other than Special Assistance Fund or Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund distributions, Pell Grants, and certain exempt grants) the Class Member received above his or her GIA.Top
The average recovery across all Class Members has not been precisely determined at this stage and will depend on which school the Class Member attended, the average yearly GIA and COA value for each school, and the number of years the Class Member received a GIA. The range of average distribution for Class Members who played his or her sport for four years is currently estimated to be approximately $5,000 to $7,500.
By no later than August 21, 2017, Class Members will be able to see on the Settlement website at www.GrantInAidSettlement.com an estimate of their individual gross and net recovery. To see your individual estimated gross and net recovery, log on to the Settlement website using your unique NCAA Eligibility Center ID number provided with this Notice. Be sure to retain this Notice and your unique Eligibility Center ID number to take advantage of this website feature in the future. To the extent you are unable to locate your Eligibility Center ID number, you can retrieve it by logging on to your NCAA Eligibility Center account at www.eligibilitycenter.org; once you have logged on, your Eligibility Center ID number will be displayed in the top right corner below your name.
Upon logging on to the Settlement website, you will be directed to a screen that will show your individual estimated gross and net recovery, as well as the calculations used to arrive at those estimates. Please note that the estimate of your individual gross recovery will be before pro rata deductions for any award of attorneys’ fees, expenses, and Class Representative Service Awards that may be awarded by the Court later. Your estimated net recovery will be approximately 25% lower than your estimated gross recovery, as Class Counsel has agreed not to seek more that 25% of the total Settlement Fund for attorneys’ fees and expenses. (See Paragraphs 25 for more detail about Fee, Expenses, and Service Awards.)
If you believe the amount or calculation of your individual estimated gross or net recovery is wrong for some reason, or if you believe that you did not receive direct mailed Notice of the Settlement and you believe you should be eligible for a recovery as a Class Member, you can contact the Settlement Administrator by writing to:
NCAA GIA Settlement Administrator
c/o KCC Class Action Services
P.O. Box 43034
Providence, RI 02940-3034
You may also contact the Settlement Administrator by sending an email to info@GrantInAidSettlement.com or by calling 1-866-680-4830. You must provide detailed information and all records to support your dispute to the Settlement Administrator. All disputes and supporting documentation must be received by the Settlement Administrator (or postmarked if mailed) no later than October 3, 2017. After this date, you will no longer be able to dispute your individual estimated gross or net recovery, or your status as an eligible Class Member. The resolution of any such dispute by the Settlement Administrator shall be final and non-appealable.Top
Plaintiffs’ evidence showed that some schools (but not necessarily all) would have more likely than not provided athletically related financial aid above GIA during the class period if allowed to do so. As a result, and as part of the Settlement, Class Members are eligible for distribution who attended schools that provide, have provided, or have indicated by or before June 1, 2017 an intent to start providing any portion of the gap between the amount of GIA allowed prior to August 1, 2015 and full COA to at least one Class Member at that school. For other schools, where the evidence indicated it was not more likely than not the schools would have provided athletically related financial aid above GIA, Class Members who attended those schools will not be eligible for distribution. The evidence included Plaintiffs’ statistical model as well as whether there was evidence the school had provided athletically related financial aid above GIA when allowed to do so or stated a specific commitment to do so in the future.Top
Each eligible Class Member will be directly notified and a check mailed to him or her, with no claim form required to be submitted and no right of any reversion of funds to Defendants.Top
The distributions will be mailed to eligible Class Members after the Court grants “final approval” of the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved.Top
The address to which this Notice was mailed is the address to which the Settlement Administrator will mail your distribution check. You also can confirm the address to which the Settlement Administrator will mail your distribution by logging on to the Settlement website at www.GrantInAidSettlement.com, as outlined above.Top
If you would like your distribution mailed to an address other than the one at which you received this Notice, you must contact the Settlement Administrator by writing to:
NCAA GIA Settlement Administrator
c/o KCC Class Action Services
P.O. Box 43034
Providence, RI 02940-3034
You may also contact the Settlement Administrator by sending an email to info@GrantInAidSettlement.com or by calling 1-866-680-4830. To change the address to which your distribution will be mailed, you will be required to provide your name, date of birth, NCAA Eligibility Center ID number, the university or college you attend(ed) and the sport you play(ed). You will also be required to provide a copy of a government-issued photo ID card (i.e., driver’s license, passport, state ID card). If the address on the government-issued photo ID card is not the same as the address to which you would like your distribution mailed, you also will be required to provide copies of two pieces of official mail (i.e., electric bill, gas bill, water bill, cell phone bill, cable/internet bill, bank statement, credit card statement, loan statement, etc.) addressed to you at the address to which you would like your distribution mailed. All requests for changes of address must be received by the Settlement Administrator (or postmarked if mailed) no later than October 3, 2017.Top
Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you are staying in the Class or Classes described in the Settlement, and that means that you can’t sue or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants about the legal claims being settled in the Settlement. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.
The specifics of the release of claim are set out in more detail in the Settlement Agreement, which is posted at the case website here. The Settlement Agreement describes the release in specific legal terminology. Talk to Class Counsel (see the section on “The Lawyers Representing You,” Section 24 of the Notice) or your own lawyer if you have questions about the release or what it means.Top
No. Your request for or receipt of any distribution under this Settlement will NOT affect your eligibility to compete in NCAA athletics if you are otherwise eligible.Top
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter to the Settlement Administrator by first-class mail with a clear statement that you want to be excluded. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature.
Requests for exclusion must be submitted individually by a Class Member or his legally authorized representative, and not on behalf of a group or class of persons. If you have a personal lawyer, your lawyer may assist you with your exclusion request, but you must personally sign it unless the lawyer is also your Legally Authorized Representative.
You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than September 20, 2017, to the following address:
NCAA GIA Settlement Administrator
c/o KCC Class Action Services
P.O. Box 43034
Providence, RI 02940-3034
You can’t exclude yourself by phone, by e-mail, or on the website. If you ask to be excluded from the Settlement, you will not get any money from the Settlement, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in the lawsuit. You may be able to sue (or continue to sue) the Defendants in the lawsuit.Top
No. Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you give up any right to sue the Defendants for the claims that are resolved by the Settlement. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. Remember, the exclusion deadline is September 20, 2017.Top
No. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will not be able to get any money from the Settlement, and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in the Settlement.Top
Yes. The Court has appointed the law firms listed below to represent you and other Class Members in the Settlement. These lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for services performed by Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
If you want to contact Class Counsel about this Settlement, they can be reached through the Settlement Administrator by calling
1-866-680-4830 or sending an email to info@GrantInAidSettlement.com.
HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO LLP
Steve W. Berman (Pro Hac Vice)
1918 Eighth Avenue, Suite 3300
Seattle, WA 98101
PEARSON, SIMON & WARSHAW, LLP
Bruce L. Simon (96241)
44 Montgomery Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses in the Settlement (the “Fee and Expenses Award”), which will be paid from the Settlement Fund after Final Approval is granted. Class Counsel will ask the Court for the Fee and Expenses Award based on their services in this litigation, not to exceed 25% of the $208,664,445.00 Settlement Fund. Any payment to the attorneys will be subject to Court approval, and the Court may award less than the requested amount.
Service Awards are intended to compensate Class Representatives for work undertaken on behalf of a class. Based on the contributions and commitments by Class Representatives, the Settlement Agreement contemplates a $20,000 award to each Class Representative. Any Service Award will be subject to Court approval, and the Court may award less than the requested amount.
The Fee and Expenses Award, and Service Awards that the Court orders, plus the costs to administer the Settlement, will come out of the Settlement Fund.
When Class Counsel’s motion for fees, expenses, and service awards is filed, it will be available at www.GrantInAidSettlement.com. The motion will be posted on the website 14 days before the deadline for requests for exclusion or objections to the Settlement and you will have an opportunity to comment on the motion.Top
If you’re a Class Member (or a Class Member’s Legally Authorized Representative), and you haven’t excluded yourself from the Settlement, you can object to the proposed Settlement if you don’t like it. However, you cannot object if you have requested exclusion or “opted out.” In other words, you must stay in the case as a Class Member in order to object to the Settlement.
You can object if you don’t like any part of the proposed Settlement, including the Settlement’s Distribution Plan, or the request for the attorneys’ Fee and Expenses Award, or the request for Service Awards to the Class Representatives. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve any or all of these items, and the Court will consider your views.
You cannot object in order to ask the Court for a higher distribution for yourself personally, although you can object to the distribution terms that apply generally to the Class. The Court can only approve or disapprove the Settlement, but cannot change how much money you are personally eligible to receive from the Settlement. This means that if the Court agrees with your objection, the case won’t be settled unless the parties agree to change the terms and the Court approves those changes.
To object, you must (a) mail your objection to the Settlement Administrator and (b) file it with the Court. To be timely, your objection must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator so that it is postmarked by September 20, 2017, and must be filed with the Court by no later than September 20, 2017 at the following addresses:
NCAA GIA Settlement Administrator
c/o KCC Gilardi
P.O. Box 43034
Providence, RI 02940-3034
District Judge Claudia Wilken
United States Courthouse
1301 Clay Street, Courtroom 2, 4th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
NOTE: You may mail your objection to the Court, but it must be received by the Court and filed by September 20, 2017. See www.GrantInAidSettlement.com for more information on how to object to the Settlement.Top
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you stay in the Settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object, because the case no longer affects you. If you object, and the Court approves the Settlement anyway, you will still be legally bound by the result.Top
The Court will hold a “Fairness Hearing” (also known as a “Final Approval Hearing”) to decide whether to finally approve the proposed Settlement. The Fairness Hearing will be on November 17, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Claudia Wilken, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612. Please note that the date of the Fairness Hearing may be changed without notice. Class Members are encouraged to visit the Settlement website at www.GrantInAidSettlement.com for future updates.
At the Fairness Hearing, the Court will consider whether the proposed Settlement and all of its terms are adequate, fair, and reasonable. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court may listen to people who have asked for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing and have complied with the other requirements for objections explained in Section 26. The Court may also decide how much to award Class Counsel for fees and expenses, and whether and how much to award the Class Representatives for representing the Class.
At or after the Fairness Hearing, the Court will decide whether to finally approve the proposed Settlement. There may be appeals after that. There is no set timeline for either the Court’s final approval decision, or for any appeals that may be brought from that decision, so it is impossible to know exactly when the Settlement will become final.
The Court may change deadlines listed in this Notice without further notice to the Class. To keep up on any changes in the deadlines, please contact the Settlement Administrator or visit the case website at www.GrantInAidSettlement.com.Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions asked by the Court.
If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. So long as you mailed your written objection on time and complied with the other requirements for a proper objection, the Court will consider it. You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it’s not required.Top
Yes. If you submitted a proper written objection to the Settlement, you or your lawyer may, at your own expense, come to the Fairness Hearing and speak. To do so, you must follow the procedures set out in Section 26 of the Notice. You must also file a Notice of Intention to Appear, which must be mailed to the Settlement Administrator so that it is postmarked no later than September 20, 2017, and it must be filed with the Clerk of the Court by that same date. If you intend to have a lawyer appear on your behalf, your lawyer must enter a written notice of appearance of counsel with the Clerk of the Court no later than September 20, 2017. See Section 26 for the addresses of the Settlement Administrator and the Court. You cannot speak at the Fairness Hearing if you excluded yourself.Top
The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement, available at www.GrantInAidSettlement.com.
You may obtain additional information by
Call the Settlement Administrator toll-free at 1- 866-680-4830 to ask questions and receive copies of documents.
Email the Settlement Administrator at info@GrantInAidSettlement.com
Send your questions by mail to
P.O. Box 43034
Visiting the settlement website
Please go to www.GrantInAidSettlement.com, where you will find answers to common questions and other detailed information to help you.
Reviewing legal documents
You can review the legal documents that have been filed with the Clerk of Court in these cases at:
You can access the Court dockets in these cases through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE JUDGE OR THE COURT CLERK TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LAWSUITS, THE SETTLEMENT, OR THE NOTICE.Top