Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick’s Sports Law Group, was interviewed by MarketWatch regarding a class action lawsuit brought by a former Villanova University football player against the NCAA for allegedly committing wage violations.
The player is seeking to hold the NCAA and its Division I Member Schools in Pennsylvania accountable for refusing to pay student athletes. Under the lawsuit, the plaintiff asserts that student athletes are engaged in “athletic work,” and should be compensated accordingly. The plaintiff also compares college athletes to students employed in work-study programs, who are compensated on an hourly basis. This lawsuit comes on the heels of California’s recently passed legislation allowing college athletes to make money off of endorsements and to capitalize off their names and likenesses. The NCAA also recently took the first steps to allow college athletes to profit while playing when its Board of Governors unanimously voted that players should “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.”
Kishner told MarketWatch that he was “not optimistic about [the player’s] chances in this case,” and “was especially not inspired by the work-study comparison.” Kishner stated that it is not “as good of an argument as the exploitation of the name image and likeness. Based on everything I have assessed, I think the analysis made by [the player’s] lawyers are a bit stretched to come to the conclusion that [he] is entitled to minimum wage.”