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Notre Dame calls on Congress to save college sports after $2.8B settlement


College football

Notre Dame’s statement was prepared in the wake of the surprising NCAA settlement, and was not vague about its position on potential athlete compensation.

On Thursday, the NCAA and the nation’s five major conferences reached an agreement to pay roughly the amount $2.8 billion to settle several antitrust claims.

It’s an agreement — which still needs to be approved by a federal judge — that, in Notre Dame’s opinion, puts “the great American institution of college sports” in jeopardy, as the ruling could result in millions being doled out to athletes’ pockets in a revenue-sharing plan directly from the colleges.

“The settlement, although undesirable in many respects and heralds only temporary stability, is necessary to avoid what would be the bankruptcy of college athletics.” University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, said in a statement. “To save the great American institution of college sports, Congress must pass legislation that preempts the current patchwork of state laws; Prove that our athletes are not employees, but students pursuing college degrees; and provide protection from further antitrust lawsuits that will allow colleges to establish and enforce rules that will protect our student-athletes and help ensure competitive fairness among our teams.

Notre Dame's president, the Rev. John I.  Jenkins, with other guests during the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Breakfast, at the Century Center.
Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, with other guests during the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Breakfast, at the Century Center. Robert Franklin/USA Today Network

The $2.8 billion settlement will be paid over 10 years to more than 14,000 former and current college athletes, who said now-defunct rules prevented them from earning income from endorsement and sponsorship deals dating back to 2016.

The resolution would create a professional compensation system similar to sports, creating a revenue-sharing fund that would allow schools to share up to $22 million annually to athletes.

Anias Williams (20) kicks off Saturday, April 20, 2024, in the annual Notre Dame Blue and Gold spring football game at Notre Dame Stadium.
Anias Williams (20) kicks off Saturday, April 20, 2024, in the annual Notre Dame Blue and Gold spring football game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory credit Greg Sawyers/USA Today Network

Questions remain about the deal, including how it will affect Notre Dame and its independence from NCAA conferences.

“Even though it was only because of overwhelming legal pressure, the NCAA, conferences and schools agree that college athletes should be paid,” said Ramoji Huma, a former UCLA football player, according to the Associated Press. “And there’s no going back from there.

“This is truly groundbreaking.”

— With AP




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