CHICAGO (AP) — Twin brothers have sued the NCAA in federal court, alleging they were ruled ineligible because of compensation they received for use of their name, image and likeness while they were playing for an Atlanta prep sports academy.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Matthew Bewley and Ryan Bewley, 19-year-old twins from Florida, in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Wednesday. The Bewleys played for Overtime Elite Academy for two seasons before accepting scholarships from Chicago State University in June.
The brothers are seeking damages and an injunction that would clear them to play for the Cougars, who visit Bowling Green on Monday night for their season opener. U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman scheduled a hearing for Tuesday in the case.
Daniel McGrath, one of the lawyers representing the Bewleys, declined comment when asked if he had anything to add beyond the lawsuit. An NCAA spokeswoman also declined comment on Friday.
The lawsuit argues that the NCAA actions with the brothers conflict with prior decisions involving Overtime athletes and the organization’s interim NIL policy. According to the suit, it also violates the Illinois Student-Athlete Endorsement Rights Act.
Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham and Stanford guard Kanaan Carlyle are eligible after they also spent their last high school season at Overtime.
“By certifying Mr. Dillingham and other former OTE athletes, the NCAA determined that competing for OTE and receiving compensation from OTE was permissible under its interim policy,” the lawsuit reads.
In ruling that the Bewleys were ineligible, the NCAA, according to the lawsuit, said the brothers’ Overtime compensation “exceeded actual and necessary expenses.” It also said the twins “competed for a team that considered itself professional.”
The NCAA is facing multiple legal challenges that could reset the amateur sports model that has been in place for decades. One of them seeks damages for earnings former athletes say they were denied under previous NCAA rules.