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NCAA, five major conferences agree to pay players as part of massive antitrust settlement

The reckoning has finally taken root. Major college athletes will finally get paid.

According to, the NCAA and its five major conferences have agreed to pay players as part of a settlement of three antitrust lawsuits that have been dealing systematic body blows to the college football status quo.

The argument, put simply, is that the NCAA was and always has been a tool for controlling labor costs by creating artificial barriers to paying players. Under the guise of preserving amateurism, the players got nothing — while everyone else connected to the sport got paid.

Yes, they received “an education” that many didn’t want and that conflicted at times with their primary purpose for being on campus. It still was far from fair value, since the process prevented the open market from determining that value..

Under the deal, all Division I athletes back to 2016 will be eligible to receive a share of a settlement fund of more than $2.7 billion. The agreement also includes a revenue-sharing plan that will allow each school from the five major conferences to give up to $20 million per year to players.

Like all class-action settlements, this one will be required to go through a formal approval process. It’s expected to take months, with revenue sharing starting in 2025.

This is just part of the many legal issues arising from the shattering of the fictional barriers to paying players. It’s still possible that other massive changes will be needed in order to fully comply with legal requirements that had been brazenly ignored.

Frankly, whatever the final bill might be, it still won’t fully rectify decades of exploitation that not only prevented schools from paying players but also (until recently) from capitalizing on their names, images, and likenesses.

It’s still better than nothing. Especially after so many years of the college system collectively sending to players the same message Judge Smails delivered to Spaudling: “You’ll get nothing and like it.”