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Breaking News: P5 Schools Allowed to Pay Players

Paying Players

In a landmark case that officially kills off amateurism in college athletics, the NCAA, as well as the Southeastern Conference, Pac-12 Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference and Big Ten Conference, have agreed to pay $2.8 billion to settle antitrust claims and kickstart a revenue-sharing model that goes directly to student-athletes.

The change is expected to take effect as early as the Fall 2025. Officially ratified Thursday, the Pac-12 was the final conference to sign off on the proposal, leading to a unanimous decision by the conferences.

The House v. NCAA Antitrust Settlement

This settlement stems from the House v. NCAA antitrust lawsuit, which sought back pay for Division 1 athletes who were denied earning Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) compensation prior to the NCAA policy change in 2021. This lawsuit also pursued a cut of future broadcast revenues for athletes at power-conference schools, per the New York Times's Stewart Mandel and other credible sources.

Paying players

The NCAA could have lost a whopping $20 billion if this settlement did not go through, so this week the settlement talks ramped up heavily. The Big 12 was the first to approve the settlement on Monday, then the ACC, then the Big Ten, SEC and finally Pac-12 followed Thursday.

How Schools Will Pay Players

The settlement also includes a system where $20 million a year can be directly distributed from a power-conference school to its athletes, allowing not only the revenue-sharing model to take hold, but also for schools to pay their athletes directly. Athletes who generate the most money will be getting the most returns.

This also means that sports that generate the most money will be able to pay their players the most amount of compensation, which will likely widen the gap between football and the rest of college athletics. It is not a massive adjustment to the NIL system already in place, however, it will promote football above other college athletics programs due to the model of revenue-sharing and the pre-existing gap of revenue that these sports bring in.

What This Means for College Athletics

Smaller Division I programs, conferences and other college sports could potentially shoulder a harder burden due to this change though however, as they do not bring in the money that Power 5 schools do yet are still being held responsible for the damages described in the settlement.

This could also lead to athlete unionization, employee designation and/or if the NCAA can ultimately secure antirust exemptions from Congress. There's still a long way to go in terms of this case with the House of Representatives, however this is a huge ruling from it.

College athletes can officially make money from the revenue they bring in, which is something that student-athletes have been fighting for since the NCAA first put sanctions on student-athlete compensation and determined amateur status for their athletes.

You can follow this case and more college football-related stories over at College Football Dawgs.


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