NCAA suffers big loss as judge rules in favor of Ed O’Bannon

| August 8, 2014 | 1 Comment

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A federal judge ruled Friday that the NCAA’s limits on what major college football and men’s basketball players can receive for playing sports “unreasonably restrain trade” in violation of antitrust laws.

In a 99-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued an injunction “that will enjoin 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.”

This injunction will prohibit the NCAA 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.”

Her injunction will allow the NCAA to set a cap on the money held in that trust, but prohibits the NCAA’s cap to be less than $5,000 for every year an athlete remains academically eligible to compete.

Wilken did say the injunction will not take effect until the start of the next football and basketball recruiting cycles. The plaintiffs are allowed to recover their costs from the NCAA.

“Nothing in this injunction will preclude the NCAA from continuing to enforce all of its other existing rules which are designed to achieve legitimate pro competitive goals,” Wilken wrote.

“The court finds that a submarket exists in which television networks seek to acquire group licenses to use FBS football and Division I basketball players’ names, images and likenesses in live game telecasts,” Wilken wrote. “Television networks frequently enter into licensing agreements to use the intellectual property of schools, conferences, and event organizers — such as the NCAA or a bowl committee — in live telecasts of football and basketball games. In these agreements, the network often seeks to acquire the rights to use the names, images and likenesses of the participating student-athletes during the telecast.”

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