Former USC linebacker Lamar Dawson’s class-action wage lawsuit against the Pac-12 and NCAA was dismissed by a federal judge on Tuesday who said the case was based on “untenable legal theory,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Dawson, who played football for USC from 2011 to 2015, claimed that the Pac-12 and NCAA violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code because they do not pay football players minimum wage or overtime, according to the Los Angeles Times. He sued in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in September.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg refuted Dawson’s argument in a 12-page opinion, which stated that “there is simply no legal basis for finding [collegiate athletes] to be ‘employees’ under the FLSA.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards affecting full- and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments.
While Dawson argued that collegiate football players should be considered employees because football is a revenue-generating sport, Seeborg wrote that “the premise that revenue generation is determinative of employment status is not supported by the case law.”
Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, supported Judge Seeborg decision in a statement.
“As we have said in this case and others before it, there is no legal support for the idea that college athletics participation makes a student a university employee,” the statement said. “Playing college sports allows students to get a quality education and build skills to prepare them for success after college. It is unfortunate we must continue to expend resources on cases that copy previously dismissed lawsuits.”
Dawson was a starter linebacker for USC as a true freshman in 2011, but a torn ACL and other subsequent injuries affected his career and his chance of playing in the NFL, according to ESPN. He redshirted in 2014 and appeared in eight games in 2015, when he finished with 31 tackles.