Three Student-Athletes Suing NCAA

By Ryan Gaydos

Three female Kean University student-athletes are filing suit in a class action lawsuit against the NCAA. The students claim they were forced to give up their scholarships after the NCAA placed Kean on probation for failing to exert control over the athletic department in 2012.

According to the New Jersey Law Journal, former soccer players Shannon Pedersen and Jaclyn Janicky along with former basketball player Emily Cristaldi are seeking “statutory, actual and punitive damages and disgorgement profits.”

This lawsuit coming after the NCAA handed down most of the punishment stemming from infractions by the women’s basketball team, but also found the school was handing out more Dr. James E. Dorsey Scholarships than permitted. Former athletic director Glenn Hedden allegedly did not tell the athletes they could not hold onto the scholarship until the deadline past. The students would have either applied for other means of financial aid, give up varsity sports or transfer altogether.

Cristaldi is already involved in a 2011 lawsuit against Kean and current athletic director Chris Morgan. Cristaldi’s lawyer, Timothy McIlwain, was denied adding the NCAA to that lawsuit. McIlwain made a statement in that suit.

“The NCAA did not state that Emily Cristaldi’s eligibility was at stake, and there was no threat of Cristaldi losing her scholarship,” McIlwain said. “Yet Kean University — with no hearing, no investigation, no written explanation — chooses to punish someone who did nothing wrong. Emily Cristaldi was taken off the team and is not even permitted to act as the team manager.

“She has proven to be not only a great basketball player, but a great student that would not be able to afford to go to college because her scholarship is need-based as well as academic-performance based.”

The suit is still ongoing, but the breach of contract count was thrown out. The negligence count is still in place, according to NJ.com.


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