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Labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler files antitrust lawsuit vs. NCAA

By Jerry Hinnen | Staff Writer

High-profile sports and labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler filed an antitrust lawsuit in a New Jersey federal court Monday, naming the NCAA and the five power conferences -- the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 -- as defendants. Per USA Today, the suit seeks an injunction against the NCAA's rules limiting athlete's compensation, labeling it "price-fixing."

If successful, the suit would allow players to be paid beyond their athletic scholarships.

"The main objective is to strike down permanently the restrictions that prevent athletes in Division I basketball and the top tier of college football from being fairly compensated for the billions of dollars in revenues that they help generate," Kessler told ESPN. "We're looking to change the system, that's the main goal."

The suit lists four current or recent NCAA athletes at plaintiffs: Clemson defensive back Martin Jenkins, Rutgers basketball player J.J. Moore, UTEP tight end Kevin Perry and Cal tight end Bill Tyndall. Jenkins is a junior, while the other three have exhausted their eligibility. The four players are seeking individual damages, though unlike the O'Bannon case, the suit is not seeking class action damages.

Kessler has an extensive history working with professional player unions such as the NFL and NBA Players' Associations, and helped represent the NFLPA in the landmark 1992 antitrust case in which NFL players won free agency.

The Kessler suit comes on the heels of a similar suit filed on behalf of former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston, which claims the NCAA "colludes" to cap the value of athletic scholarships. The NCAA is also the defendant in a suit seeking concussion damages, and is also arguing against a group of Northwestern football players seeking to form a recognized college student-athletes' union.

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