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Former West Virginia player files lawsuit against NCAA for capping scholarship value

Shawne Alston played running back at West Virginia from 2009-12, racking up 1,068 yards and 19 touchdowns.Shawne Alston played running back at West Virginia from 2009-12, racking up 1,068 rushing yards. (Mel Evans/AP)

The NCAA is already dealing with the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit and the Northwestern football players' movement to unionize. Now, another issue has been dropped on the pile.

Former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston, who played from 2009-12, has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging that the NCAA "violated antitrust laws by agreeing to cap the value of athletic scholarships below the actual cost of attending school and 'far below' what the free market would produce," according to Jon Solomon of AL.com. The NCAA, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten are named as defendants.

Via Solomon:

Alston's suit seeks an injunction that enjoins the NCAA and the five major conferences from maintaining the present NCAA bylaw limiting financial aid to the currently-defined grant-in-aid value. The suit also seeks damages for the difference between the grants-in-aid awarded and the cost of attendance.

The suit alleges the NCAA first imposed a collusive cap on grants-in-aid in 1956 and then again by removing a cost of attendance stipend in 1973.

"Ever since, the NCAA has periodically been 'working' on the issue, with no significant changes to the capped grant-in-aid limitations," the suit states. "Despite the NCAA's public comments concerning the needs of college athletes, the collusive cap on grants-in-aid remains in place."

Alston is represented by the law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, which has been involved in various other cases pertaining to the NCAA. The former Mountaineers back, who previously filed a lawsuit alleging "blatant and unlawful" use of name and likeness against EA Sports, said he had to take out a loan to overcome the difference between the actual cost of attendance and what was provided him by his scholarship.

Also from Solomon's piece, lead attorney Steve Berman said in a statement that FBS football players should "no longer be treated as second-class citizens," and that they "should not have to struggle to make ends meet while they are surrounded by multi-millionaire coaches."
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