banner

NHL

more stats

Judge in O'Bannon case rules against NCAA

Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - A federal judge ruled Friday that the NCAA violates U.S. antitrust law by preventing football and basketball players from being compensated for the use of their names, images and likenesses.

In a 99-page opinion, Chief District Judge Claudia Wilken wrote that the NCAA violates antitrust law "by agreeing with its member schools to restrain their ability to compensate Division I men's basketball and FBS football players any more than the current association rules allow."

The NCAA said in a statement from chief legal officer Donald Remy that it disagrees with Wilken's opinion that its rules violate antitrust law but that it was still reviewing the full decision and would reserve further comment until later.

The class-action lawsuit was filed five years ago by a group of plaintiffs led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon. They sought changes to the NCAA rules prohibiting athletes from receiving a share of the revenue when their likenesses or names, etc., are used commercially, as in video games.

Wilken ruled the NCAA cannot prevent schools from offering recruits in FBS football and Division I basketball "a limited share of the revenues generated" in such cases.

She ruled:

- That the NCAA will be allowed to cap the amount of compensation an athlete can be awarded, as long as the cap is set at or above the cost of attendance.

- That the NCAA is prohibited from preventing schools or conferences from depositing shares of licensing revenue into trusts payable to athletes when they leave school or their eligibility expires.

- That the NCAA will be allowed to cap the amount of money held in those trusts as long as it's not below $5,000 for each year an athlete remains academically eligible to compete.

The injunction will not take effect until the start of the next FBS football and Division I basketball recruiting cycle.

O'Bannon, who won a national title with the Bruins as a senior in 1995, called the ruling "a game-changer for college athletes, both current and former."

"From the outset when I saw my image being used as a character in a video game, I just wanted to right a wrong," O'Bannon said in a statement. "It is only fair that your own name, image and likeness belong to you, regardless of your definition of amateurism. Judge Wilken's ruling ensures that basic principle shall apply to all participants in college athletics. ...

"My co-plaintiffs and myself are celebrating a big victory tonight ... a win where justice was served."

Bill Isaacson, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said "a major step towards decency for college athletes" had been taken.

"The judge's decision strikes down NCAA rules restricting their compensation and permits reasonable but significant sharing with athletes -- both for the costs of education and to establish trust funds -- from the billions in revenues that schools earn from their football and basketball players," he said.

Wilken's ruling follows several other potentially landscape-altering decisions this year over athletes' rights.

In June, the NCAA announced a settlement in a lawsuit filed by former football and basketball players led by former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller for claims over college-themed video games produced by Electronic Arts.

And in March, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern football players are employees of the university and therefore eligible to unionize if they vote to do so.

08/09 00:09:20 ET

Other Stories

Hurricanes

Calgary, Carolina
Murphy, Sutter reassigned to Charlotte

Defenseman Ryan Murphy and center Brody Sutter were each reassigned to the Charlotte Checkers Wednesday, the Carolina Hurricanes announced.

Related Stories
  • ACC: North Carolina vs. Miami

    Saturday at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego vs. Miami

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida vs. Georgia

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Notre Dame vs. Navy

    Saturday at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints

    Tonight at 8:25 on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: Duke at Pittsburgh

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on 620am

  • ACC: NC State at Syracuse

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tomorrow at 11:35 pm

Scoreboard
Local
8:25pm Tonight
CAR
NOS
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
DET
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
NYK
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
UTA
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
OKC
7:30pm Tonight
LOU
FSU
7:30pm Tonight
GASO
TROY
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
LOS
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WIN
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
ARI
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
CHI
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
STL
ANA
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
SJS
9:00pm Tonight
COL
NYI
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
MON
8:25pm Tonight
CAR
NOS