How NCAA Settlement Could Impact NC Colleges and Athletes

College sports is transforming again. This time, it goes beyond conference realignment, expanded playoffs, or NIL rights.

The NCAA has agreed to pay $2.7 billion to settle a lawsuit that challenged the foundation of college sports.

Student-athletes across the US, including North Carolina, will receive monetary compensation for their athletic contributions. It will also drastically change how schools award scholarships.

What the settlement could mean for NC colleges and student-athletes

North Caolina sports betting launched in March. Unlike some states, North Carolina allows both betting on in-state college teams and prop bets on college student-athletes.

In House v. NCAA, the plaintiffs sought damages from unpaid compensation they argued college athletes were owed for use of their NIL (name, image and likeness) in years past. The NCAA, the Big 10, SEC, and other prominent conferences faced a potential loss of an estimated $10 billion if the decision went against them.

Instead, the defendants settled, agreeing to nearly $3 billion in payments. According to an estimate by CBS Sports, each ACC school, which includes North Carolina State, North Carolina, Duke, and Wake Forest, must pay up to $2 million in damages.

As part of the settlement, the NCAA and the big conferences agreed to pay student-athletes and restructure how they offer scholarships. Those changes could begin as soon as the spring of 2025.

The new guidelines will have a tremendous impact on universities and student-athletes. Schools like North Carolina will be responsible for paying athletes who compete in certain sports, such as football and basketball. According to CBS Sports, approximately $22 million could be put in a pool annually to pay athletes in a form of “revenue share.”

Women’s sports could see more scholarships

To try to stem the amount of revenue-sharing money, the NCAA has offered to remove almost all limits on scholarships. That means a football program, which typically has about 85 to 90 scholarships among the 120 or so roster spots, could offer scholarships to everyone on the team. But the biggest impact will probably occur on lesser-revenue sports.

In college baseball, for example, schools can give out only 11.7 scholarships. They are typically split between 35-plus players in a program. Now, as a result of the new NCAA deal, baseball schools could offer scholarships to the full team. That would be a boon to schools like Wake Forest and NC State, traditional baseball powerhouses. It also helps the student-athletes, of course.

The trickle-down effect of the new college landscape is significant but is still not totally understood. For instance, because Title IX requires schools to offer as many scholarships to women’s sports as men’s, any increase in football and baseball scholarships would mean more scholarships for female student-athletes.

Several issues remain, like:

  • How will NIL be regulated?
  • How much will each school have to set aside for its athletes?
  • How will the transfer portal impact scholarships and payments?

Image Credit: Ben McKeown / AP Images

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.