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College Athletics Sex Discrimination for Name, Image, and Likeness Payments – Class Action Investigation

November 16, 2021 by  

Ahdoot Wolfson is investigating potential class action lawsuits against universities that are unequally paying student athletes for their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) based upon sex. As of July 2021, certain NCAA restrictions have been lifted, and student athletes can now be compensated for activities such as appearing in advertising or promotions, selling autographs, tweeting endorsements, and otherwise profit for use of their NIL, without jeopardizing their amateur status. But, with the lifting of restrictions on student athletes profiting from their NIL comes the risk that universities, themselves, will compensate male student athletes more favorably than female student athletes. 

Title IX prohibits schools from engaging in unequal treatment of male athletes over female student athletes. Universities that intend to compensate student athletes for their NIL must do so equally. Universities must also ensure that female athletes have the same opportunities as male athletes to profit from their NIL when offering deals or arrangements involving the school. Some examples of Title IX violations where schools give preference to one sex over the other include:

  • paying members of the men’s basketball team for use of their images in national game broadcast commercials, but not members of the women’s team.
  • providing the men’s basketball team with financial planning services and training on navigating the business aspects of a professional basketball career, but not similarly training any women’s team.
  • allowing members of the football team to use the school’s trademarked logo in an ad for a sports apparel brand, but not any women’s team members.
  • paying members of the men’s basketball team a portion or royalty of revenues obtained by the school’s apparel partner to have jerseys sold with their names on the back, but not offering female athletes similar deals.

Schools that fail to provide equal opportunity to females as are being provided to males may result in violations of Title IX and give rise to other sex discrimination issues.

If you are a student athlete who has been compensated for your name, image, and likeness, and believe that the compensation structure is unequal and otherwise violates Title IX, you may be legally harmed. Please contact Ahdoot Wolfson by filling out the form below and one of our lawyers will promptly call you.