Federal Judge Rules Against NCAA in O'Bannon Trial, NCAA to Appeal
Updates from Sunday, Aug. 10
The NCAA has responded to the O'Bannon trial ruling:
We remain confident that the NCAA has not violated the antitrust laws and intend to appeal. We will also be seeking clarity from the District Court on some details of its ruling.
It should be noted that the Court supported several of the NCAA’s positions, and we share a commitment to better support student-athletes. For more than three years, we’ve been working to improve the college experience for the more than 460,000 student-athletes across all three divisions. On Thursday, the Division I Board of Directors passed a new governance model allowing schools to better support student-athletes, including covering the full cost of attendance, one of the central components of the injunction. The Court also agreed that the integration of academics and athletics is important and supported by NCAA rules.
Further, the Court rejected the plaintiffs’ claims that the NCAA licensed student-athletes' names, images and likenesses to EA Sports or anyone else. It also rejected the plaintiffs’ proposed model where athletes could directly market their names, images and likenesses while in college.
We look forward to presenting our arguments on appeal, and in the meantime we will continue to champion student-athlete success on the field and in the classroom.
College athletes earned a major victory in the courtroom when a federal judge decided the NCAA cannot prohibit payment to players.
Steve Berkowitz of USA Today provides the details:
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, in a 99-page ruling in favor of a group of plaintiffs led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, issued an injunction that will prevent the NCAA "from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their FBS football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images, and likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid."
You can view the entire decision online, courtesy of USA Today. The plaintiff's case, led by Ed O'Bannon, argued that players should be paid when their likeness is used whether that includes video games, jersey sales or other uses.
The NCAA released a statement after the decision through its chief legal officer, Donald Remy:
We disagree with the Court's decision that NCAA rules violate antitrust laws. We note that the Court's decision sets limits on compensation, but are reviewing the full decision and will provide further comment later. As evidenced by yesterday’s Board of Directors action, the NCAA is committed to fully supporting student-athletes.
CBS Sports' Jon Solomon quotes the judge on her ruling that says the NCAA is prohibited from "enforcing any rules to prevent its member schools and conferences from offering to deposit a limited share of licensing revenue in trust for their FBS football and Division I basketball recruits, payable when they leave school or their eligibility expires."
In this scenario, the players could receive payment after their time at school comes to an end, whether that is due to graduation or other reasons.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports notes there will likely be appeals to counter the decision by Wilken:
Federal judge rules in favor of Ed O'Bannon, et al in case v NCAA. Appeals to come. Still an historic decision.
However, Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports agrees that this is an important moment that will alter college athletics:
The tsunami is now fully upon the NCAA. The ramifications of losing the Ed O'Bannon case will reverberate through history.
This decision comes just one day after the NCAA announced it would give more power to its five richest conferences. According to The Associated Press, the NCAA Board of Directors voted 16-2 to give the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC the ability to write some of their own rules.
As ESPN's Jeff Goodman points out, this will cause the NCAA to lose even more power going forward:
NCAA loses O'Bannon hearing today, will lose power w/decision of Big 5 leagues to alter rules earlier in week. May be just a matter of time.
If this ruling stands, it becomes the first step toward paying college athletes. This has long been a point of contention regarding the NCAA, with some players even attempting to form unions.