An Indiana Federal Court Judge recently ruled that NCAA student-athletes are not employees and thus do not have a claim for minimum wage payments. In Anderson et al. v. NCAA et al., three former track athletes claimed that, as student-athletes, they really should be treated as student interns and that under the Department of Labor guidance issued in 2010, the athletes were more akin to employees, entitled to minimum wage pay.

District Judge William T. Lawrence disagreed and dismissed the wage lawsuit against several defendants, including the NCAA and the University of Pennsylvania.  The Judge determined that the athletes’ attempt to use the guidance for interns was not instructive for, and should not be followed in the case of, student-athletes. The Judge also noted that universities having thousands of student-athletes who are unpaid is not a secret but yet the Department of Labor has not issued guidance directly addressing them or claiming that the minimum wage laws apply to student-athletes.

Counsel for the student-athletes vowed to appeal the ruling.