Matthew and Ryan Bewley from the Chicago State Cougars are suing the NCAA after they were ruled ineligible to be compensated through the use of name, image and likeness deals. The 19-year-old twins were deemed ineligible after playing at Overtime Elite Academy, an Atlanta prep sports school, which used to compensate student-athletes.
The Bewley twins played two seasons at the academy before accepting scholarship offers from Chicago State University in June, reported the Associated Press. They were paid a salary during their time at OTE, which would make them professional players and therefore ineligible for NIL deals. The Bewleys were each paid at least $33,333 per month during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, according to ESPN.
OTE only offered professional opportunities during its 2021 inaugural season. The academy started offering other options the following year.
“OTE began offering athletes a scholarship option – instead of a salary – which provides unparalleled development and educational opportunities at OTE while preserving college eligibility,” according to the website.
The Bewley twins filed a federal lawsuit on Nov. 1, which alleges the NCAA violated the Illinois Student-Athlete Endorsement Rights Act and is in conflict with its own interim NIL policy. In 2021, the NCAA ruled that student-athletes could benefit from NIL deals.
The lawsuit is also accusing the association of “selective enforcement” by declaring the Bewley twins ineligible. Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham and Stanford guard Kanaan Carlyle were given NIL eligibility after spending their last high school season at OTE and were offered college scholarships.
U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman scheduled a hearing for the case on Tuesday.
The Bewley twins were set to compete for Chicago State during the season opener at Bowling Green on Monday evening. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, the brothers are both former 5-star recruits.
“Matt and Ryan are once-in-a-generation-type talents,” Gerald Gillion, head men’s basketball coach for the Cougars, had said in a press release. “To have two 6-9 guys that are super athletic, can dribble, pass and shoot, and that boast extreme confidence is rare. They are primed to have an immediate impact on a great returning core led by Wesley Cardet and Jahsean Corbett.”