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Former Mizzou DT Lucas Vincent, ‘DT #96,’ applauds NCAA compensation settlement

NIL expert explains impact of House v NCAA settlement
Lucas Vincent at Mizzou
Posted at 5:31 PM, May 24, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “DT #96” created quite a stir July 8, 2013.

That’s when Lucas Vincent, an Olathe North graduate about to begin his redshirt junior season with Mizzou football, tweeted about not being able to afford the EA Sports college football video game.

“I wanna buy the new NCAA game but I also don't wanna be poor till September... My likeness is on the game why do I have to pay for it?” Vincent, now the student success coach and boys wrestling coach at Oak Park High School, wrote.

Lucas wore No. 96 for Mizzou. “DT #96” was included on the Tigers’ roster in NCAA Football 13 — a character that shared Lucas’ height, weight, hometown and bore a resemblance to Lucas.

He didn’t expect the message would create such a stir.

“I tweeted it and then I took a nap,” Vincent said. “I woke up and my phone is just — pew-pew-pew — and I’m like, ‘Oh, man.’ I’m looking at my phone just waiting for a call from Coach Pinkel to just rip into me.”

That call never came, but there was fallout from the message, including a writeup in “Sports Illustrated.”

Vincent’s tweet came during the infancy of a wider push for student-athlete compensation.

Revenue, especially from broadcasting rights, had grown to the point NCAA athletics was a multi-billion business.

Coaches salaries, administrators salaries, palatial facilities — the nation’s richest college sports programs were spending money hand over fist, but little was going to the students, whose effort on the field made the rest possible.

“We’d go around town, there’s a picture of Markus Golden in the gas station, there’s pictures of Maty Mauk all over town,” Vincent said. “It’s like, ‘What were my friends getting from this?’ They weren’t getting anything. Their face, their image, their reputation was being used for other people to make money, but they weren’t able to capitalize on that and I didn’t think that was fair.”

He wasn’t alone and an avalanche of lawsuits during the last decade have reshaped the NCAA landscape.

Explaining the House v NCAA settlement

The recent settlement in House v NCAA, which was filed in a federal court in California, creates two major changes in college sports.

“The first part is it provides back damages payments for former and some current college athletes,” Mit Winter, an attorney with Kansas City-based Kennyhertz Perry and NIL expert, said. “Any (NCAA) Division I college athletes that played from 2016 to 2023 will potentially receive some back damages payments for denial of compensation they were not able to receive between that time period.”

Winter said there’s a four-year statute of limitations in antitrust cases under federal law. House v NCAA was filed in 2020, so athletes who played before 2016 aren’t allowed to be party to the case.

“I remember being in college, being super broke, eating ramen noodles, PB&J, putting the change in my cup holder in my gas,” Vincent said. “I’m happy for the kids. It’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to reap some of these benefits. But, jealous? No, I’m glad that times have changed for them.”

Vincent, who played at Mizzou from 2010-14, won’t be among the athletes eligible for compensation from the House v NCAA settlement since he graduate two years before the eligibility window for $2.8 billion in backpay to be doled out during the next 10 years.

That money, which is tied to a percentage of broadcast revenues, primarily will go to Power 5 football and men’s college basketball athletes from that era, since those sports have the richest TV contracts.

“The forward looking part is now schools are going to be able to directly pay NIL compensation to their athletes, which is a big change from how college sports has operated,” Winter said.

Scholarships and cost-of-attendance stipends alone are no longer enough. The settlement creates something of a salary cap for major-college athletic departments.

“There's going to be a cap on the annual amount that schools can pay to all of their athletes of around $20 million,” Winter said. “Schools will be able to decide how they want to divide up that $20 million amongst all of our athletes, so that'll kind of vary from school to school.”

As revenues rise in future years, the capped compensation also will go up, Winter said.

Hope for future athletes

Vincent remains an advocate for college athletes, touting the benefits of the transfer portal among other recent NCAA changes.

“These student-athletes make a huge amount of money for their university and I think they should be compensated for it,” Vincent said.

He may not get directly compensated as a result of the changes, but perhaps Vincent’s son, 4-year-old Magnus, will benefit from the fight his dad helped start.

“He’s already a better athlete than me,” Vincent said. “He says he wants to play quarterback at Mizzou. He went to his first Mizzou game this fall, absolutely loved it. He loves the Tigers. But yeah, maybe one day, hopefully.”

Vincent said he’ll buy EA Sports College Football 25 after it’s released July 19.

“100%,” he said. “I make actual money now. I can go buy a video game.”

But “DT #96” won’t be making his triumphant return.

“Oh, no — I create my son in all the games now,” Vincent said. “He’s playing quarterback.”

College football players who opt in to be part of the new video game — and nearly all have — will receive $600 and a free copy of the game.

“That’s really all I wanted,” Vincent said. “I would even have just taken the free game back in the day.”

That would have been much cheaper for EA Sports and the NCAA.

More issues on horizon

The House v NCAA settlement calls for a new enforcement mechanism, which will require athletes to report all third-party NIL deals to ensure compliance with the “salary cap,” though it’s unclear who will operate and oversee such a clearinghouse.

While the settlement doesn’t dissolve the NIL collectives that have sprung up in recent years, offering massive recruiting inducements to prospective and enrolled college athletes, it may render them moot.

“This settlement doesn't itself eliminate collectives, but the NCAA and the conferences are hoping that it either greatly lessens their influence or maybe does make them cease to exist,” Winter said.

Donors now can contribute money intended for NIL payments directly to the schools they support.

One case against the NCAA remains outstanding — Fontenot v NCAA — which could pave the way for performance-based pay for college athletes. It’s a similar case to Carter v NCAA, which is included in the House v NCAA settlement, but it’s being heard by a federal court in Colorado.

“It could eventually go to trial and the NCAA rules that say colleges can't pay athletes for athletic performance would go away,” Winter said.

That means bonuses for statistical benchmarks, wins, bowl games and postseason honors would be permitted.