Judge dismisses former USC linebacker's wage lawsuit against NCAA, Pac-12

A federal judge dismissed former USC linebacker Lamar Dawson’s class-action wage lawsuit against the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference on Tuesday, saying the case was based on “untenable legal theory.”

Dawson, who played for USC from 2011 through 2015, sued in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in September. The case alleged the NCAA and Pac-12 violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law because they don’t pay football players minimum wage or overtime.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg disagreed with Dawson’s argument in a 12-page opinion.

“Leaving aside the policy question of whether and how Division I FBS college football players should be compensated, there is simply no legal basis for finding them to be ‘employees’ under the FLSA,” the judge wrote.

He added: “Moreover, the premise that revenue determination is determinative of employment status is not supported by case law.”

Seeborg also dismissed Dawson’s claims under California law.

Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, lauded the 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. “It is unfortunate we must continue to expend resources on cases that copy previously dismissed lawsuits.”

Dawson’s lawsuit sought unpaid wages and overtime, interest and a variety of unspecified damages.

nathan.fenno@latimes.com

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