A federal judge in Indianapolis this week threw out a lawsuit by student athletes against more than 100 Division I colleges and universities, alleging they were employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) deserving of being paid the minimum wage.
U.S. District Court Judge William T. Lawrence ruled against the athletes, writing: “The question is not whether the plaintiffs, as student athletes, are ‘deserving’ of employee status, but rather whether Congress intended for the FLSA to apply to them.”
The original lawsuit named the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, and every Division I school as defendants, but Judge Lawrence limited its scope to the University of Pennsylvania, where the lawsuit was originated by three track and field athletes.
Ivy League schools such as Penn do not offer scholarships to athletes, which the judge said proves that participating athletes “view it as beneficial to them” even without any form of compensation. He also noted that absent Labor Department action on the issue, the FLSA does not apply as originally framed.