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College Athletes File Suit against the NCAA and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Related Lawyers: Michael D. Hausfeld, Swathi Bojedla, Jeannine M. Kenney, Sathya S. Gosselin
Related Practice Areas: Sports and Entertainment

Hausfeld represents a proposed class of current and former scholarship athletes at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (“UNC”), led by former UNC women’s basketball player Rashanda McCants and former UNC football player Devon Ramsay, who were victims of one of the largest academic scandals in college sports history.

The complaint, which was filed in North Carolina state court, alleges that for 20 years, UNC and the NCAA stood idly by as hundreds of men’s and women’s college athletes were steered into sham classes that lacked faculty involvement or attendance requirements, all for the sake of maintaining their eligibility to perform in athletic competition while maximizing their time on the field and on the court.

The suit involves, among other things, negligence claims against the NCAA and breach-of-contract claims against UNC for their roles in this episode in college sports. Hausfeld’s co-counsel in this matter includes former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robert F. Orr and Harvard Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.

A statement from Devon Ramsay:

This suit isn’t just about myself or Ms. McCants, it’s about protecting an opportunity that these young men and women have earned from their dedication and hard work. The athletic scholarship they've received promises an education in exchange for athletic participation and enrollment, but what happens when their college or university offers a class that is not legitimate by the university’s own standards?

Unfortunately, these aren’t just isolated incidents that occurred at UNC. This is a national problem, one that continually surfaces at some of the most prestigious programs in the country. Where is the NCAA, which claims to protect their "student athletes," in all of this? And, most importantly, who suffers in the long run? It’s the athletes that are crippled. The ones that risk their bodies for the profits of their university. On average, less than 2% of these athletes will play at the professional level; therefore, it is paramount that these athletes receive legitimate classes that are worthy of their university. 

A statement from Rashanda McCants:

I want to call on all athletes to stand with me and Devon Ramsay. We must stand strong so that we can be seen as more than just mere athletes. We are humans; we have voices; and, although we all love our school, we also love ourselves and the dignity we built within our own right. My intention is for people to know that I did everything that was asked of me, on the court and off the court.  But the university and the NCAA failed to keep their promise to me and other college athletes, and in turn we seek justice. With this said, I hope and pray my fellow athletes stand with me and Devon in this effort to hold the powers that be accountable.    

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About Hausfeld: Hausfeld is a leading global law firm with offices in Brussels, London, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The firm has a broad range of complex litigation expertise, particularly in antitrust/competition, financial services, sports and entertainment, environmental, mass torts, consumer protection, and human rights matters, often with an international dimension. Hausfeld aims to achieve the best possible results for clients through its practical and commercial approach, avoiding litigation where feasible, yet litigating robustly when necessary. Hausfeld’s extensive experience with alternative and innovative fee models offers clients a diverse menu of engagement options and maximum flexibility in terms of managing their cost exposure.

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