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The $15 Billion Deal: Inside the NCAA’s Landmark Settlement and Its Impact on College Sports

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NCAA's Landmark Settlement

In the spring of 2021, attorneys representing the NCAA appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, opposing the idea of providing each college athlete with an additional cash stipend annually. The proposed amount was $5,980. Fast forward three years, and in a monumental agreement that will reshape major college athletics, the NCAA abandoned its outdated regulations and amateurism argument, ushering in an era of direct athlete compensation. The projected sum: over $15 billion in new cash distributed to athletes over the span of a 10-year agreement.

The Decision?

This week, the NCAA and power conferences voted in favor of settling three antitrust cases (House, Hubbard, and Carter), approving terms that include nearly $2.8 billion in back damages, a future revenue-sharing model for athletes that will cost major conferences over $1 billion annually, and potential alterations to the association’s governance, enforcement, and scholarship framework.

This historic vote marks a groundbreaking shift for an organization that has long resisted direct athlete pay despite reaping billions from major football and men’s basketball programs. After nine months of negotiations with plaintiff lawyers, NCAA president Charlie Baker, and conference commissioners, the industry enters a new era aimed at bringing stability to the chaotic recruiting landscape.

Caught between amateurism and professionalism, major college sports are advancing, albeit reluctantly, into a semi-professional realm due to state laws and court rulings. While the new model still prohibits pay-for-play and booster payments, college leaders believe it will deter future legal challenges, solidify the NCAA’s influence over power leagues for another decade, and introduce more oversight to the recruiting process.

“This would be the biggest change in the history of college sports. Period,” said Gabe Feldman, a sports law professor at Tulane and a leading authority on NCAA litigation matters. “To have athletes share revenue with the schools would be not only monumental but also contrary to what the NCAA has advocated for a century.”

When Can We See The Impact?

All five power conference presidential boards—Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12, Big 12, and ACC—endorsed the settlement this week. Despite near dissolution, the Pac-12 upheld its original vote. Finalizing the settlement could take several months, requiring approval from a judge and allowing objections from individual plaintiffs, a process expected to last at least five months.

However, by the start of the 2025 fall semester—within 14 months—the new model is anticipated to be implemented, allowing schools to share revenue with athletes up to a predetermined quasi-salary cap. These revenue-sharing deals, classified as NIL agreements, will enable schools to provide funds for the use and broadcast of players’ names, images, and likenesses, a central issue in the House case. Other non-NIL forms of payments will also be permitted.

How Will it Work?

While uncertainties persist around this new system, institutions will have the option to share up to $22 million annually with athletes. This figure, subject to change, was calculated based on 22% of average power conference revenues. The cap includes exceptions, such as allocating a combined $5 million from Alston-related funds and additional scholarships toward the total.

The new model aims to eliminate scholarship restrictions while enforcing roster limits, a strategy to preempt further legal battles that could significantly increase schools’ financial aid obligations in a fiercely competitive recruiting environment.

However, this transformation comes at a steep cost—approximately $200-$300 million per school over the 10-year settlement, totaling about $15 billion among all power schools. This estimate assumes schools adhere to the revenue-distribution cap annually and expand scholarships by at least $3-5 million.

Many school administrators face sticker shock as they scramble to secure additional funds through unconventional means, such as private equity and capital. For public schools in the ACC, Big Ten, SEC, and Big 12, a $30 million annual commitment coupled with $20 million in total scholarships constitutes roughly 40-45% of the average athletic department budget.

Yet, without a settlement, college leaders risk another courtroom defeat, a $20 billion damages bill, and potential bankruptcy.

In addition to the financial overhaul, other changes are on the horizon.

Enforcing the Settlement

Enforcement of rules remains a priority. The settlement-related model is expected to introduce a new enforcement arm and governance structure, particularly for power conference schools, empowering them to establish and enforce their own regulations. Finalizing these details could take months.

A key aspect of enforcement revolves around booster-led collectives. While the settlement does not eliminate these entities, it incentivizes schools to integrate them within the university’s athletic department, primarily through a more robust enforcement entity—one potentially operating independently of the NCAA, bolstered by the settlement itself.

As part of the settlement, the judge is anticipated to “reaffirm” existing NCAA compensation rules, specifically those prohibiting booster payments for deals not considered “true NIL.” However, details on the enforcement entity remain scarce.

Additionally, the settlement is expected to provide a “release” of antitrust compensation claims from current, former, and future athletes for a decade, as part of a “substitution” system for new plaintiffs. This concept was highlighted by plaintiff attorney Steve Berman, who described a mechanism whereby each new class of athletes can opt into the revenue-sharing structure.

Any Drawbacks?

Nevertheless, the settlement is not without its flaws. It does not shield the NCAA and conferences from future lawsuits by state attorneys general, preempt state NIL or revenue-sharing laws, or definitively address Title IX’s applicability in such a compensation model.

The document notes that Title IX “remains to be applied at the campus level,” a scenario that could lead schools to bypass federal law by frequently using third-party entities to compensate athletes.

Plaintiff attorney Jeffrey Kessler believes the Title IX issue will ultimately be resolved in court.

“The courts will decide,” he said. “It doesn’t impact us. “If we reach a settlement, we’ll establish a system for compensating athletes. The extent to which Title IX applies will be decided by the courts.

Read more: Best College Football Quarterbacks to Watch This Season

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UFC

UFC Fighters Share Their Opinions on New Glove Design

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Ufc new gloves design

Legendary MMA referee John McCarthy isn’t impressed with the new UFC gloves. The man who actually invented the term mixed martial arts believes the redesigned gloves won’t prevent eye pokes.
The latest rendition of the MMA gloves debuted at UFC 302 and was significantly lighter with additional padding. The gloves are now seamless and have a new design that prevents fighters from fully opening their hands.
Unlike boxing gloves, which enclose the entire hand, UFC gloves leave the fighter’s fingers and palm exposed so they can grapple, wrestle, and apply submissions. The padding is only placed over the knuckles to protect the fighter’s hand and limit cuts.
The lack of padding and the fact it’s easier to make a fist means we should see more knockouts. UFC fighters are already calling them a puncher’s glove.

Why Did the UFC Change the Gloves?

As the fighter’s fingers are exposed, athletes are constantly poking each other in the eye, which is illegal and can lead to serious damage. Fighters like Jon Jones took advantage of the old glove design by constantly fully opening their hands and pawing at their opponent’s faces.
This would not only distract opposing fighters but result in eye pokes. The offending fighters could claim that these infractions were simply an accident, and often, the fight would continue with no penalties imposed.
The new gloves are meant to prevent fighters from delivering eye pokes as the stiffness and updated curve make it harder to straighten your fingers. However, McCarthy remains unconvinced.
He said that when a fighter wearing the new gloves squeezes his hand, their fingers will still go straight. To get rid of eye pokes, the legendary ref said that the gloves must be designed so that fighters have to apply significant force to straighten their fingers. He wants the gloves to feature a curved design which forces the fighter’s fingers to be rounded.

Sean Strickland Isn’t a Fan of the New UFC Gloves

Former middleweight UFC champion known for being incredibly outspoken vented about the new gloves. He said they suck and proceeded to drop a bunch of F-bombs, criticizing the UFC and the people who made them, accusing them of knowing nothing about fighting. It’s hard to know how much of Strickland’s rant is part of his shtick and how much of it is his true feelings.
However, Strickland wasn’t the only fighter taking issue with the controversial gloves. The lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is against the change. He believes the new gloves will cause a lot more cuts as they’re much stiffer than the previous design.
The glove makers specifically made the gloves seamless in a bid to reduce cuts. So we’ll have to see if Makhachev’s prediction of more cuts is on the money.
Randy Brown, who is a welterweight contender, agreed with McCarthy. He doesn’t believe the new gloves will solve the eye poker issue. He does see strikers getting an advantage due to the lack of padding and how easy it is to make a fist.
Dustin Poirier, who is known for his fast hands and power punching, is one of the few fighters to like the gloves. The UFC legend said the gloves are much more comfortable than the old ones. He likes the limited padding and can generate more power.
However, he agrees with Islam when it comes to causing more cuts. The 35-year-old believes fighters’ knuckles will pierce right through the limited amount of padding and open fighters up. If that is the case, the UFC will have to go back to the drawing board and redesign them.

The Jury Is Still Out on UFC’s New Gloves

The new UFC gloves have only been used at UFC 302. We’ll have to wait at least one year until we know whether gloves are a flop or not. It seems like they’ve got some things right, like the reduction in padding and the ease of making a fist.
Unfortunately, there’s a chance that the new gloves may cause additional cuts, and fighters can still extend their fingers too easily, resulting in eye pokes. Hopefully, the next iteration will feature a curved design, and eye pokes will be eradicated from mixed martial arts for good!|
Read more: Alex Pereira vs. Jiří Procházka to Headline UFC 303 After McGregor Withdrawal


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Soccer

Euro 2024 Action: Germany vs. Hungary, Croatia vs. Albania, and Scotland vs. Switzerland Review

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UEFA EURO 2024

Scotland vs. Switzerland

Qualification hero Scott McTominay’s deflected shot nearly brought the house down at Cologne Stadium 13 minutes into the game. 

However, a bewildering blind back pass from Anthony Ralston handed Xherdan Shaqiri the chance to sweep a sublime first-time shot high beyond Angus Gunn. 

Kieran Tierney pulled up clutching his hamstring as Dan Ndoye wasted a golden opportunity when through on goal, ruling Tierney out of the Hungary game on Sunday. 

Despite being already depleted in defense, the Scots heroically rallied in the closing stages, with Grant Hanley hitting the post with a header from an Andy Robertson free-kick. 

The Swiss missed several late chances, but Scotland managed to secure a point, moving them to third in Group A. A victory against Hungary would likely see them advance past the group stage for the first time in their history.

Germany vs. Hungary

Hungary manager Marco Rossi emphasized the importance of avoiding mistakes on the eve of the match, but his side faltered just 22 minutes in.

Defender Willi Orbán tried to shoulder-barge Gündogan in his own area but ended up falling to the ground. The German captain capitalized, pulling the ball back to Musiala, who smashed it in off defender Attila Fiola while some Hungarian players paused, appealing for a foul.

VAR quickly confirmed the goal.

Hungary responded well, with German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer making a crucial save, diving to the top corner to parry away a Dominik Szoboszlai free-kick shortly after.

They thought they had equalized just before half-time when Sallai headed in from a rebound, but it was ruled out for offside. Hungary had another chance to level after the break when Barnabás Varga headed over the bar.

Germany continued to apply pressure, with Musiala being a constant threat to the Hungarian defense. He was also instrumental in the build-up when Gündogan doubled their lead in the 67th minute, sweeping in a low cross from Maximilian Mittelstädt.

“We are getting better but as we improve we have to overcome some problems, that is what this game showed today, especially in the first half. But that’s the tournament — you have to survive such situations. We survived and then hit back,” said Gündogan, 33.

Germany managed to maintain possession and run down the clock, securing their place in the next round ahead of their final group game against Switzerland on Sunday.

Hungary still has a chance to progress if they beat Scotland and other results go in their favor.

“We made some mistakes, but mistakes happen in football. Teams like Germany and other world-class teams play better than us, we know that. I’d say Germany is possibly the biggest favorite to win the Euro,” Rossi commented.

Croatia vs. Albania

Qazim Laci’s 11th-minute header gave Albania an early lead, mirroring their quick start against Italy when they scored after just 23 seconds.

This time, they took a bit longer, withstanding early pressure before Jasir Asani whipped in a cross from the right. Laci’s glancing header slipped under goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, who could have done better but redeemed himself with two crucial saves later in the first half, denying Kristjan Asllani and stopping Rey Manaj’s diving header, preventing Albania from doubling their lead.

Albania’s gritty determination and rapid counterattacks belied their lowly ranking, some 56 places below 10th-placed Croatia.

Croatia made a double change at the break, intensifying their pressure on the Albanian goal. Thomas Strakosha made key saves from Luka Sucic and Mateo Kovacic to maintain the lead until the 74th minute when Kramaric, on his 33rd birthday, scored from close range. He shot through the legs of Elseid Hysaj, wrongfooting Strakosha.

An own goal followed as Ante Budimir’s shot, set up by Mario Pasalic’s pullback from the byline, was blocked by Berat Djimsiti, only for the rebound to hit Gjasula and go into his own net.

However, Albania was not to be outdone, and Gjasula sidefooted into the net with five minutes of additional time already played, leading to a dramatic conclusion to the contest.

“This is why everyone loves football. In the last seconds, sometimes you score a goal to win, sometimes you concede,” said Kramaric.

Albania finishes their group schedule against Spain in Dusseldorf on Monday, and Gjasula expressed hope.

“We know that the game with Spain is very difficult, but in football, everything is possible. If we play like today, anything can happen,” he told reporters.

Croatia will meet Italy in Leipzig at the same time, with the odds against them.

“The first half was very bad, but the second was much better, which is encouraging for the match with Italy,” added Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. “We are still in the game. We shall prepare and do everything in our power to go on.”

Read more: Euro 2024 Begins with Germany’s Thrashing of Scotland, Injuries Plague Poland vs Netherlands, Modric Leads Croatia Against Spain

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Ice Hockey

Panthers Near Stanley Cup with Game 3 Victory, Bobrovsky’s Heroics

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Stanley Cup Ice Hockey

The venue shifted for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, but the outcome mirrored that of Games 1 and 2, with the Florida Panthers securing a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. This win puts the Panthers just one victory away from clinching the franchise’s first championship.

Game 3 Recap

Florida struck first in the game, but Edmonton quickly tied it at 1. The Panthers responded with three consecutive goals, taking a commanding lead. Despite a late push from the Oilers, who scored two goals to come within one, clutch defensive plays and key saves from Sergei Bobrovsky ensured Florida held on for the win.

The Panthers allowed Edmonton to chip away at their 4-1 lead in the third period, resulting in a tense one-goal finish. The victory was largely protected by Bobrovsky’s crucial save on Ryan McLeod in the final minutes of a frantic third period.

Ultimately, the final score is all that matters, and Florida is now just one victory away from their first championship. This wouldn’t have been possible without another stellar performance from Bobrovsky, an all-out effort from the entire Panthers lineup, and a penalty kill that has consistently neutralized Edmonton’s powerful power play. Despite Edmonton’s late comeback attempt, the Panthers remained composed. This calm under pressure is a significant strength they will rely on as they aim to clinch the Cup in Game 4.

Edmonton’s struggles against the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final were evident once again in Game 3. Despite a heavy number of shots on goal, they failed to create high-quality scoring chances to consistently challenge Bobrovsky. Defensive breakdowns led to Florida scoring as many goals in the second period as Edmonton had managed in the first eight periods of the series. Though the Oilers’ third-period rally added excitement, it ultimately fell short.

Aleksander Barkov on Another Level

Concerns about the Panthers captain’s availability after his Game 2 injury were dispelled as he emerged as the best skater on the ice by far. Barkov set the tone early, stripping Evan Bouchard of the puck, protecting it, and feeding Gustav Forsling, who set up Sam Reinhart for the opening goal at 18:58 of the first period. Barkov scored the game-winning goal on a 2-on-1 in the second period and was the key forward in defusing the 6-on-5 situation in the final minute of the game.

While Edmonton’s stars have been quiet on the scoresheet throughout this series, Florida has not faced such issues, particularly with Aleksander Barkov. The Panthers’ captain was the standout player in Game 3, not only as his team’s best forward but the top skater overall.

Other Key Players

Connor Brown (Edmonton Oilers): One of the most active players for the Oilers, Brown was a constant presence throughout the game. He used his speed to pressure Florida’s defensemen on the forecheck, generating four shot attempts. Notably, he created two scoring chances during a short-handed rush in the first period, though he was ultimately denied both times.

Sergei Bobrovsky (Florida Panthers): Florida’s goalie continues to be the MVP of the series. Bobrovsky needed to be at his best for the first 30 minutes until his teammates pulled ahead. He allowed a breakaway goal by Warren Foegele early in the second period but then shut the door, frustrating the Oilers at every turn. Through two periods, he stopped 28 of 29 shots, including 14 from Edmonton’s top threats: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Evan Bouchard. Bobrovsky finished with 32 saves, moving the Panthers one game away from their first Stanley Cup championship.

What We Learned

Panthers’ Dominance on the Boards:

Florida’s control of the series is largely due to their dominance in winning 50-50 pucks, especially along the boards. Their relentless puck-hunting in the offensive zone has pinned the Oilers in their end and worn down Edmonton’s top offensive players by forcing them to fight through a gauntlet of bodies up the ice.

Oilers Need a Full 60 Minutes:

Edmonton has not played poorly throughout the series but has faltered during critical stretches. They controlled the first two periods of Game 1 but couldn’t solve Bobrovsky, leading to a dominant third period by Florida for a 3-0 win. Game 2 saw Edmonton stymied through two periods before improving in the third in a 4-1 loss. In Game 3, a strong first period was undone by a last-minute mistake, and after tying the game, the Oilers allowed three goals in a 6:19 span due to defensive breakdowns. Despite a strong third period, the deficit was too much to overcome.

Read more: Panthers vs. Oilers: A Clash for the 2024 Stanley Cup

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