From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Sept. 27 — College football players are employees of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and are owed wages, a new lawsuit asserts ( Dawson v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n , N.D. Cal., No. 3:16-cv-05487, complaint filed 9/26/16 ).
The lawsuit follows unsuccessful efforts to establish employee rights for student athletes based on labor and antitrust laws. In August 2015, the National Labor Relations Board dismissed a union-backed effort to hold an election to organize football players at Northwestern University without ruling on whether they are employees. And in September 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the NCAA didn’t fix prices when it established limits on stipends colleges may pay athletes to cover attendance costs.
“Between the union case, the antitrust case and this case, all of the complaints are looking at the same thing,” Mark Rifkin, an attorney representing former University of Southern California linebacker Lamar Dawson, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 27. “The reality of the relationship between the students and the universities they work for is that the athletes deserve to be compensated for the enormous value they bring to the universities.”
Dawson seeks to represent a class of football players at all NCAA schools. The NCAA and the PAC-12 Conference, to which USC belongs, fail to pay their player-employees minimum wage and overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, even though they’re subject to a high degree of control on and off campus, the lawsuit says.
The complaint, filed Sept. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, also asserts claims under California wage and hour law on behalf of members of a sub-class of college athletes in the Golden State.
“We are currently evaluating the claim, but strongly disagree with the notion that college students participating in athletics are employees,” Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, told Bloomberg BNA by e-mail Sept. 27. “Our experience is that these college students, like their non-athlete colleagues, are very focused on their academic endeavors. Moreover, they have a passion for their sport and a commitment to their teammates that can’t be equated to punching a time clock.”
The athletes are required to adhere to the NCAA and PAC-12 Conference’s rules concerning their daily activities, the complaint alleges. This includes scheduled times they must report for games, practices, classes and study sessions.
A similar lawsuit against the NCAA and more than 120 member schools by University of Pennsylvania track and field athletes failed in February. A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled that the athletes lacked standing to sue schools they didn’t attend and that participating in a team doesn’t make them employees.
The Penn athletes appealed their loss to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Oral argument is scheduled for Sept. 28.
The PAC-12 Conference didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Sept. 27.
Rifkin is with Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP in New York City. Attorneys Betsy Manifold, Rachele Rickert, Marisa Livesay and Brittany Dejong in its San Diego office; Jeffrey Smith in its New York City office; and two attorneys from the Law Offices of John M. Kelson, John M. Kelson in Oakland, Calif., and Jerry K. Cimmet in San Mateo, Calif., also represent the putative class. An attorney hasn’t entered an appearance for the NCAA or the PAC-12 Conference.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Steingart in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)