Twin brothers have officially filed legal action against the NCAA.
According to The Grio, Matthew and Ryan Bewley, both 19, are suing the collegiate organization after it deemed the brothers ineligible to play college basketball due to payments they received for the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL) during their tenure at an Atlanta, GA, prep sports academy.
Before accepting scholarships to attend Illinois’ Chicago State University (CSU) in June 2023, the Bewley brothers had attended Overtime Elite Academy for two seasons.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago on Nov. 1, is seeking damages as well as an injunction to clear the brothers to play for the CSU Cougars in the upcoming season opener.
According to Gabe Feldman, Tulane University’s sports law program director and the associate provost for NCAA compliance for the university, this particular case is similar to a recent incident where an antitrust lawsuit was filed to prevent the NCAA from limiting the amount of money athletes can receive for their names, images and likenesses.
“The House case… is the broad ongoing challenge to a host of restrictions on college athlete compensation,” Feldman said. “This is one step away from that because it is a lawsuit brought based on restrictions that are in place before athletes enroll in college.”
He continued: “But it’s all the different sides of the same coin and it’s just another challenge to the NCAA’s ability to maintain its longstanding amateurism model.”
Per the suit filed by the Bewley brothers, the ineligibility ruling by the NCAA violates the Illinois Student-Athlete Endorsement Rights Act. They’ve also brought attention to an NCAA bylaw in their case, arguing that it creates “an artificial wage cap enforced on young athletes who aspire to compete in intercollegiate athletics.”
The Bewley Brothers' Argument
At this time, fellow athletes including University of Kentucky Wildcats guard Rob Dillingham and Stanford University Cardinal guard Kanaan Carlyle were deemed eligible after they similarly spent their last high school season at the same prep school as the Bewley brothers.
“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,” stated the lawsuit.
Judge Robert Gettleman has scheduled a hearing for the case on Tuesday (Nov. 7).