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Dawson v. NCAA and Pac-12 Conference: Alleged Violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act

Lamar Dawson (“Dawson”), a former University of Southern California student-athlete, filed suit against the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference. In the suit, Dawson seeks unpaid wages, including unpaid overtime compensation and interest thereon, required minimum wage payments, waiting time penalties, liquidated damages and other penalties, injunctive and other equitable relief and reasonable attorneys’ fees pursuant to claims for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, California Labor Code, California Code of Regulations, and California Business and Professions Code.

Dawson argues the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference “strictly control and regulate” Dawson’s conduct and prohibit him from 1) rendering himself ineligible, 2) engaging in serious misconduct, 3) engaging in conduct resulting in criminal charges, 4) abusing team rules as determined by the coaches and/or athletic administrators, 5) voluntarily withdrawing from the sport at any time for any reason, 6) accepting compensation for participating in athletic contests in his sport, and 7) agreeing to be represented by an agent. Dawson further argues the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference “strictly control and regulate” student-athletes’ conduct on and off campus, pursuant to NCAA and Pac-12 Conference rules and regulations, including training and game schedules, academic schedules, and other collegiate activities. As a result, Dawson argues he and other potential class members are employees under federal and state law.

Dawson, therefore, requests damages based on the defendants’ alleged failure to pay adequate compensation or otherwise provide for the compensation of Dawson and proposed class members for overtime/premium wages due under the Fair Labor Standards Act, California Labor Code, and applicable California Wage Orders.

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