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NCAA may attempt to recover legal fees if it wins ‘O’Bannon’ lawsuit

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While the case has slipped off the radar for the average college sports fan, the lawsuit filed by Ed O’Bannon and other former college athletes over the use of their likenesses after their careers have ended is still active and has the potential to have a major impact on collegiate athletics depending on the outcome.

The NCAA is one of three defendants (Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Co. being the others) in the case, and according to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today the NCAA may look to recover legal fees from the plaintiffs if they win the case.

Given the scope of the lawsuit, legal fees for both sides will be well into seven figures by the time the trial actually begins next June.

On Friday the co-defendants filed a request to have the case schedule reset in a fashion that according to Berkowitz’s report could push the start date back three months.

The NCAA’s lawyers have said in numerous court filings that the plaintiffs — whose lead attorneys are from the firm Hausfeld LLP’s offices in Washington, D.C. — have made improper and unfair changes in their legal strategy. The NCAA’s lawyers have said those changes have forced it and the association to spend considerably more time – and, by extension, the association’s money and human resources — on the case than they otherwise would have.

Obviously this case is a long way from being resolved, and given what’s on the line there may not be a final answer for quite some time given the case itself and also the possibilities regarding appeals after a verdict is rendered.

With the waiver that athletes are required to sign in regards to the use of their likeness before being allowed to play a game, the NCAA and its partners currently are allowed to use those images however they wish (and in perpetuity as well). That’s just one of the items that the plaintiffs are fighting in court.

If the plaintiffs win this suit, the end result would be changes that would have an impact unmatched by any prior events in the history of collegiate athletics.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: