Miller Monroe & Plyler, Lulla, and Milberg File Antitrust Class Action Challenging NCAA’s Prize Money Restrictions


RALEIGH, NC. Attorneys from Miller Monroe & Plyler (together with Of Counsel Joel Lulla) and Milberg have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“UNC”) student Reese Brantmeier alleging antitrust violations against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”). The lawsuit asks a U.S. District Court to strike down the NCAA’s restrictions on student-athletes’ acceptance of prize money earned in non-NCAA competitions.

The NCAA’s longstanding “amateurism” rules prohibit student-athletes from accepting prize money earned primarily through participation in non-NCAA competitions, such as the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, the U.S. Open Golf Championship, the U.S. Swimming Championships, and the U.S. Track and Field Championships.

Reese Brantmeier, a sophomore at UNC and currently the No. 2 ranked singles and No. 1 ranked doubles collegiate tennis player in the country, filed the action on behalf of herself and other student-athletes competing in individual sports whose earning ability has been suppressed by the NCAA’s unlawful and anticompetitive restrictions.

The NCAA refused to certify Brantmeier as an amateur in the fall of 2022, her first semester of college and on the UNC Women’s Tennis team, citing her acceptance of tournament prize money at the 2021 U.S. Open as a violation of the NCAA’s Rules protecting “amateurism.” Brantmeier advanced to the third round of singles in the 2021 U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament and lost in the first round of the main draw of the 2021 U.S. Open Mixed Doubles Championship.

Despite being entitled to receive over $40,000 in prize money, in an effort to preserve her eligibility to play collegiately, Brantmeier accepted the applicable NCAA cap of $10,000 plus her “actual and necessary” expenses as permitted by the NCAA.

Specifically, the NCAA challenged Brantmeier’s inclusion of the full cost (rather than half) of the hotel room she shared with her mother during tennis tournaments as part of her expenses — Reese was a 16-year-old high school junior at the time. Likewise, the NCAA objected to Brantmeier’s expense for a racket restringing 15 days prior to the competition, stating that this expense fell outside an alleged 14-day window that is absent from its rules, but the NCAA contended was “generally applied.”

As a result of the NCAA’s investigation, Brantmeier missed the fall 2022 NCAA tennis season and was not cleared to play until January 2023, after the NCAA required her to personally contribute more than $5,000 to charity.

“We are hopeful that the NCAA has been so focused on their myriad adverse court rulings that have struck down illegal NCAA rules that restrict student-athlete benefits and compensation, particularly NIL-related compensation, that they simply haven’t paid attention to their still-existing illegal prize money rules that arbitrarily discriminate against student-athletes in non-revenue sports. We are cautiously optimistic that by bringing this action, we are now forcing the NCAA to focus on their prize money rules and they will agree that the rules are illegal, discriminatory and unfair and must be rescinded” said Joel Lulla, Of Counsel to Miller Monroe & Plyler and faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin.

“Reese and many other student-athletes have been harmed and continue to be harmed by the NCAA rules and by-laws that prevent these athletes from accepting prize money they have earned through non-NCAA competitions. Reese does not seek money but aims to eliminate the NCAA’s illegal and arbitrary restrictions,” said Peggy Wedgworth, a Senior Partner at Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman.

“Reese has done all the right things in life. She is a remarkable student and athlete. She plays by the rules. She gave up tens of thousands of dollars in prize money and still lost her first semester of college tennis based on the NCAA’s arbitrary, misguided, and trivial rules. We see this lawsuit as an opportunity to prevent this from happening again to other student-athletes like Reese,” said Jason Miller, a partner with Miller Monroe & Plyler.

Through attorneys with Milberg and Miller Monroe & Plyler, Brantmeier is seeking an injunction prohibiting the NCAA from enforcing its anticompetitive and unlawful rules restricting student-athletes’ acceptance of prize money earned in non-NCAA competitions.

About Miller Monroe & Plyler.

Founded in 2009, Miller Monroe & Plyler is a boutique civil litigation firm serving corporations, small businesses, and individuals throughout the State of North Carolina. Its litigation team has decades of in-court litigation experience and extensive business acumen. The firm’s primary practice areas include complex business and construction litigation, sports law, personal injury and wrongful death, and general civil litigation.

About Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman.

Since the firm’s founding in 1965, it has repeatedly taken the lead in landmark cases that have set groundbreaking legal precedents, prompted changes in corporate governance, and recovered over $50 billion in verdicts and settlements. The firm pioneered federal class action litigation and is widely recognized as a leader in defending the rights of victims of corporate and other large-scale wrongdoing.


For more information, press only:

Jason Miller, 919-809-7346, [email protected]

For more information on Miller Monroe & Plyler PLLC:

For more information on Milberg:

Comments are closed.