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NCAA SETTLES SUIT, AGREES TO PAY $54.5M TO ASSISTANT COACHES
Published March 10, 1999
The NCAA agreed to pay $54.5M in damages "to settle a class action lawsuit by assistant coaches whose salaries were reduced in violation of federal antitrust laws," according to Athelia Knight of the WASHINGTON POST. By reaching a settlement, the NCAA "will drop its appeal" of a May trial decision in favor of coaches from all sports except Division I-A football. In that verdict, a U.S. District Court jury awarded $67M to assistant coaches whose salaries were "limited" to $16,000 by an amendment to NCAA rules in '91. Earlier this year, a judge increased the jury award to $75M. NCAA Exec Committee Chair Charles Wethington said the NCAA will pay the $54.5M to the coaches within 60 days: "This has been a long and unfortunately divisive issue. It has pitted employee against school and sometimes friend against friend" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/10). In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff writes that the cash payment will be made to about 2,000 coaches. Kerkhoff also reports that $22M of the payment will come from an NCAA fund, while the 302 Div. I schools "will have to come up with" the remaining $32.5M. Attorney's fees will come out of the total. NCAA Exec Dir Cedric Dempsey said money from the fund would have gone to the schools for athletic programs (K.C. STAR, 3/10). HELPING HAND: IN lawmakers "want to let the NCAA issue bonds through the state to help pay" the $54.5M settlement. The IN House passed a bill "aimed at giving the [NCAA] the unique ability to issue tax-free bonds to pay for court judgements," thus allowing the schools to spread the payout over the life of the 20-year bonds. The NCAA is moving its headquarters from K.C. to Indianapolis (STAR-NEWS, 3/10).