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Sackos v. NCAA: Former Student-Athlete Sues NCAA and Division I Schools for Alleged Violations of th

Samantha Sackos (“Sackos”) was a women’s soccer student-athlete at the University of Houston from 2010 through the 2013-14 academic year. She recently filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis naming the NCAA and all NCAA Division I member institutions as defendants (collectively “NCAA”). In her complaint, Sackos alleges the NCAA violated the wage-and-hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq.) by failing to pay student-athletes at least minimum wage. Sackos sets forth this action “on behalf of herself and all NCAA Division I student athletes participating in women’s and men’s sports at any time within the statute of limitations and through the date of the final judgment, or of the resolution of any appeal therefrom.”

Sackos argues students participating in part-time work study employment programs are treated “better” than student-athletes despite student-athletes being “subject to stricter, more exacting supervision by full-time staff of NCAA Division I Member Schools….” In her complaint, Sackos alleges student-athletes meet the definition of temporary employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. She further argues scholarships provided to some student-athletes do not constitute compensation for non-academic work and, thus, should not be considered and discussed in determining whether student-athletes are entitled to minimum wages.

Sackos claims student-athletes should be compensated at a rate comparable to “at least the federal minimum-wage of $7.25 an hour.” In her complaint, Sackos details that work study participants on college campuses receive average hourly wages of $9.03 per hour for serving as users, lobby attendants, and ticket takers up to $14.56 per hour for serving as library assistants, clerical. Additionally, she cites to a 2010 NCAA report that shows the following student-athletes participated and committed to their sports weekly as follows: FBS football, 43.3 hours per week; baseball, 42.1 hours per week; FCS football, 41.6 hours per week; men’s basketball, 39.2 hours per week; women’s basketball, 37.6 hours per week; all other women’s sports, 33.3 hours per week; and all other men’s sports, 32.0 per week.

Sackos seeks an injunction to enjoin the NCAA “from continuing their unlawful policies and practices,” unpaid wages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

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