The debate over whether to pay student athletes is about to involve the US legal system, CNN reports. An attorney has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of four plaintiffs—all past and present university football and basketball players—that calls the NCAA and five top athletic conferences a "cartel" that illegally limits "competition for the services of players." Jeffrey Kessler, who filed the suit, says college sports are "pro sports for everybody but the athletes," raking in huge bucks for colleges and coaches but giving athletes only room and board, books, and some or all of their tuition.
The suit doesn't guarantee salaries or forbid scholarships, however; it only gives universities the option to pay their favorite players. It's part of a movement to challenge the NCAA, which includes a lawsuit seeking damages for a West Virginia running back and an attempt by football players at Northwestern University to unionize, ESPN reports. The NCAA hasn't responded to the lawsuit, but says amateurism is key to the educational mission of universities. Kessler disagrees, saying it's OK if a "fair portion of the revenue goes to the athletes, many of whom never graduate or most of whom never have a pro career." (Read more lawsuit stories.)