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NCAA and Power 5 Conferences Reach Landmark Settlement to Pay Players

Photo: Christian Petersen

The NCAA and its power five conferences -- the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 -- have reportedly agreed to a landmark settlement in which student-athletes will be paid directly for the first time in the history of college sports, ESPN's Dan Murphy and Pete Thamel reported on Thursday (May 23).

The NCAA will pay more than $2.7 billion in damages over 10 years to past and current players as part of the agreement, which settles three pending federal antitrust cases, sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN. The parties also agreed to a revenue-sharing plan in which schools will finance athletes by sharing up to an estimated $20 million per year.

"The five autonomy conferences and the NCAA agreeing to settlement terms is an important step in the continuing reform of college sports that will provide benefits to student-athletes and provide clarity in college athletics across all divisions for years to come," NCAA president Charlie Baker and the five power conference commissioners said in a joint statement Thursday evening via ESPN.

"This settlement is also a road map for college sports leaders and Congress to ensure this uniquely American institution can continue to provide unmatched opportunity for millions of students. All of Division I made today's progress possible, and we all have work to do to implement the terms of the agreement as the legal process continues. We look forward to working with our various student-athlete leadership groups to write the next chapter of college sports."

Division I athletes eligible for compensation include those who played at any point since 2016 as part of the settlement, which states that they cannot sue the NCAA for any other personal antitrust violations including the three open cases: House v. NCAA, Hubbard vs. NCAA and Carter v. NCAA. Judge Claudia Wilken, who is presiding over all three cases, must approve the reported settlement agreement, a process that could take several months and, therefore, see schools begin revenue sharing in fall 2025.

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