Meet the Advocates: Grant House (ASU Swim & Dive, Lead Plaintiff, House v. NCAA)
Transcript of TAB's latest interview with Grant House, hosted by Griffin Uribe Brown (Syracuse Newhouse School)
Lightly edited for grammar and readability
Griffin Uribe Brown (00:01.93)
Welcome to the Athletes Bureau podcast. Today I am joined by Grant, who is a swimmer and academic all-American at ASU. More importantly to athletes across the country, he is one of the lead plaintiffs in the House v. NCAA case. Before we get into that, we will talk a little bit about who Grant is. So Grant, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Grant D House (00:23.858)
Ultimately I am just a kid from Indiana, Southeast Indiana. I grew up swimming, grew up playing some other sports, basketball, water polo and had this vision to create something very powerful, very special, very unique at Arizona State University and really build their program into something that I saw at, you know, at Texas, at a Cal, these renowned, year-in-year-out programs, and I really saw this vision at this university, this community, this environment to build something. And that basically became my sole initiative for the last six and a half years. And as of this point, last year we went from unranked when I joined to second in the nation, the first Arizona school to win a PAC-12 title ever for swimming in my last year there.
And so I would say we actualized as much as that dream and that vision beyond. Beyond that, actually, and getting here now. And I have always been enamored with how the human body operates and performs. So I wanted to go into exercise science, also double majored in human nutrition as well, just encompass everything that you are giving your body, training, stimulus, food, recovery, and everything it can do to be a better athlete. That is what I wanted to do. That is what I wanted to be able to give other athletes when I was done competing and being a coach in some regard. And then I kind of fell into my master's program, the sports law and business, which kind of correlated and collided with the lawsuit pretty well, being the lead plaintiff on that definitely was able to fortify myself and educate myself a lot more than I ever envisioned because I just envisioned furthering my exercise science degree, but I really was able to diversify myself and go into a different direction of the sports law and business program with Aaron Hernandez as the program head. And I think that definitely forever changed my direction in life and helped me better educate myself and inform myself as just a human and citizen in the US.
Griffin Uribe Brown (02:38.954)
Alright, you talked a little bit about the lawsuit, but for listeners and readers who may not know what is going on, could you describe what your part in that is and what the lawsuit is?
Grant D House (03:02.034)
Yeah, so essentially we have three sections. Primarily the big ticket sports are, you know, quite literally for tickets, like for swim meets, you do not even need to get a ticket at ASU to get into the meet, but for broadcasting basketball, football. So we have two categories represented by Sedona Prince for basketball. And then Tymir Oliver representing football. So just, it is a class action lawsuit. So we want a representative, someone to speak for athletes as well as possible, someone who can represent that population as well as possible. And so they needed an Olympic athlete. And so that is kind of where my role falls in of collecting, you know, these, this image, this representation of Olympic athletes, because they found that it was very important to have a representative for that because there are so many more sports outside of just football and basketball that need to have a voice and need to have power to, you know, actualize and have autonomy over their name, what they do, what they can be, their image, how they portray themselves and really what they put out into the world, besides just the stats on a football field, the stats on a track, the stats on a wrestling mat, whatever it may be, but really to allow them to actualize everything they can be. Obviously, July 1st, 2021 was the first real step in the right direction and really just making sure that these rules retract but become more permanent in the future, but also reconcile for anything that can happen that should have happened by this time already in past cases and in previous years of a certain timeframe. To reconcile a certain timeframe and then also my role primarily and my vision is to make these right now temporary rules – which I do not think a lot of people understand is at any point we could just stop having NIL again – but making sure they are solidified and making them permanent for the rest of the future because I think a lot of people just take it for granted that, okay, now it is here, now we get to do it, but not many schools were prepared. I would say maybe the top five or 10% like in Ohio State or Texas were prepared for this, but I can wholeheartedly tell you ASU was not prepared for NIL and that left a lot of players with decisions to leave and to actualize that opportunity elsewhere.
And, you know, anecdotally from speaking to athletes, athletes and seeing it on the headlines and seeing people athletes transfer out. So it is obviously important to people and I think that is definitely well known now.
Griffin Uribe Brown (05:41.842)
Yeah, and you may have touched on this a little, but why were you willing to join as a lead plaintiff and what role are you playing alongside the other two athletes that you mentioned, Sedona Prince and Tymir Oliver?
Grant D House (05:54.334)
Yeah, so for me, I was asked to share my story, share my experience and I did not see any harm in that. And I just felt like it was an honest and authentic and sincere representation of what I felt like I could do. I had represented Team USA five times, four times in my college experience, and never got to capitalize on that. Swimming not being a lucrative sport to begin with, any opportunity you get to represent your country and any regard, should be a phenomenal opportunity to capitalize on that. And I am forever grateful and honored to be able to represent the red, white and blue, the stars and stripes and that is an amazing memory and experience in and of itself. But it really just stopped at that and that I could not make anything more of that without compromising my integrity in college was something that always spoke to me. And so I just kind of shared that experience with the firm, with my lawyers, and using that as a representation to speak on what Olympic athletes can reach. You know, football players can not go to the Olympics, they can not go to world championships, they can not go to these international meets and competitions other than a couple that are in Germany and stuff across seas now for one or two regular-season games. But for these pinnacle of our sports, what every Olympic athlete is typically working for, especially at a Division One school, it is really either succeeded at that or bust.
It is a very narrow pathway. And so what I wanted to do is help athletes get paid for the hard work and sacrifices and labor of what they have been doing for now, we say 20 hours a week, but any athlete at Division One, like if we are just counting the 20 raw hours, like you are lying, everyone is lying. That is not the amount of time you put into recovery. That is not film study, video analysis, nutrition, how much time you are thinking about it, travel, pregame, postgame. We are talking upwards of like 60 and 70 hours. I mean, some of the stats that [Andrew Cooper] has given me and shown me over the years are crazy of how, how far even some other coaches say that athletes end up working in the week. And so, my role was really to bring light to that and really to push that into the forefront of what athletes are really doing and that they should be earning for all this work that they are doing.
Griffin Uribe Brown (08:27.618)
What call to action do you have for college athletes across the country who may or may not be invested in this? And what do you have to tell them about why it is important that people support this and understand what is going on?
Grant D House (08:30.588)
I think it is important for people to understand what is going on because I think the more empowered you are with this, you know, wisdom is power and knowledge is power, and the more we can fortify ourselves with that information. They really wanted to put me as the lead plaintiff because I educated myself on past cases, you know, NCAA v. Alston, O'Bannon v. NCAA, how the NCAA was founded, which I do not think a lot of people know the NCAA was actually founded on a regatta, which is a rowing event. Which was a paid event for the winner by the railroad companies that took these teams like Harvard or Yale, these Ivy teams, like six or seven teams, very small. They paid their way to the competition. They paid the winner and then the winner got to stay at a hotel paid for by the company. And that is how the NCAA was started. And then they had this event. They are like, “Oh, wow, this is really cool. We should make this annual thing, and then we should incorporate other events.” And so I think the irony in that is a story in itself, but I think the aspect of making sure that people are educated is really important into now as to how we operate and take our next steps with NIL, because right now, I mean, there are a lot of things that are unregulated. There are a lot of things that are flying under the table still. There are a lot of things that are going left and right, people are not acknowledging. I think we have had some people get caught out here and there, but it is really just the highest earners in some regards. And I just do not think that is regulated or fair at all. And I think if we want to have this be a replicable model to make this permanent, we need to have a better outline, a better structure to go forward to. And if you do not know history, if you do not know the information that came before us, then it is just going to repeat itself and we are just going to keep spiraling in this “wild west” that everyone keeps calling NIL, when it does not have to be that. It can be very systematic. There are people, there are experts that can crunch numbers, that can compile things, compile answers, solutions and put those in forward and steps in place. And, you know, a place like Ohio State, I looked at briefly when I was swimming. But I mean, you ask any other players, they were ready, locked and loaded, ready to go when NIL came out and they hit the ground running. So they were being proactive for years about this. And I think the main thing right now I am seeing, the discussions I am having and the noise that I am hearing is really this resistance to something that is going to happen inevitably. And the more we resist it, the longer this journey is going to take. And if we are more proactive now, if we are taking these steps: Step by step, we travel far. Drop by drop, the jug fills full.
And I think I really think of those sentiments, those phrases, as to how we can best go about the process with NIL and really moving this into a productive forefront and next generation of athletes, rather than just kind of holding, holding until the dam just bursts and then everything breaks. And then we have to rebuild and reconstruct everything, but if we are able to be proactive about it, get ahead of something that is going to happen, whether it is five minutes from now, 10 minutes, five years, one year, 10 years, it is going to happen. And so I think we need to be more proactive than resistive right now.
Griffin Uribe Brown (12:19.562)
Alright, Grant, those are all the questions that we had for you. Thank you so much. Is there any place that people can find you online if you have an Instagram page or something you want to plug?
Grant D House (12:27.89)
I am on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter as well. I am typically more productively active on Instagram and Twitter with more content geared towards my lifestyle. LinkedIn as well. Instagram and TikTok are @mitochondria_house. And then Twitter is @housethemouse. LinkedIn is just my name. I like to share out aspects of the athletic journey, physiology, performance, nutrition, recovery. LinkedIn, a more professional standpoint of what I am doing as a coach and moving forward in my career there and also trying to advocate and create a clearer picture of this future of NIL and this future of college athletics advancing and evolving and adapting into a better world for athletes to prosper more and improve themselves for a better world and better lives than any college athlete had before.
Griffin Uribe Brown (13:33.282)
All right, well thank you so much for chatting with us, and thank you for the work you are doing. Best of luck.
Grant D House (13:37.963)
Thank you, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.