Tag: Ed O’Bannon lawsuit

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Appeals court rules NCAA in violation of antitrust laws

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SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling against the NCAA saying its use of college athletes’ names, images and likenesses violated antitrust laws but struck down a plan allowing schools to pay athletes up to $5,000.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that the NCAA couldn’t stop schools from providing full scholarships to student athletes but vacated the proposal for deferred cash payments.

The NCAA appealed U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken’s 2014 decision, which came in a lawsuit filed by UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and 19 others.

A statement from NCAA President Mark Emmert says the organization agrees with the court that the injunction “allowing students to be paid cash compensation of up to $5,000 per year was erroneous.”

Appeals court grants stay of injunction in O’Bannon lawsuit

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With the ruling in the lawsuit that includes former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon making it possible for former and current athletes alike to be compensated for the uses of their names, images and likenesses, there are major changes on the horizon for collegiate athletics. That ruling was scheduled to go into effect August 1, with the NCAA filing a stay of the injunction to prevent this from occurring.

Friday morning the governing body received good news as the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the NCAA’s stay of the injunction according to the New York Times. For current and future athletes, a denial of the NCAA’s stay would have resulted in their money being placed in a trust fund that would be available upon the completion of their eligibility. The stay remains in effect until the appeals court makes a final decision on the case, according to an NCAA spokesperson.

“We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit today granted the NCAA’s motion for stay,” NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “As a result, the NCAA will not be implementing any changes to its rules in response to the district court’s injunction at this time. We continue to await the Ninth Circuit’s final ruling.”

Friday’s news is an important step for the NCAA, with many of its members already making moves to ensure that the full cost of attendance is met in its scholarships for revenue sports. Friday’s ruling gives the NCAA and its membership more time to account for the possibility of having to compensate athletes beyond measures taken to meet the full cost of attendance (this would begin with the 2016-17 academic year).

This was something Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany addressed earlier this week at his conference’s football media days.

“The NCAA council and the (Division I) NCAA board of directors has been meeting all week to talk about the changes that may be necessary under NCAA rules to accommodate the judge’s ruling,” Delany said during the Big Ten’s annual football media days. “As you know, a request for stay has been requested. A judge hasn’t rule on that yet, but we hope we’ll get a favorable ruling. We may or we may not. We’re also hoping the 9th circuit issues a ruling before August first, that’s just today and tomorrow. It may happen or it may not.

“But once we understand what the NCAA rule changes are, I’m sure there will be lots of details that need to be addressed and we’ll do that.”

Per Judge Claudia Wilken’s original ruling, athletes could receive no less than $5,000 (2014 figure) for the use of their name, image or likeness. That number has risen to $5,040 per USA Today. Without a stay such measures could have been used by schools to entice recruits who would be on campus in 2016.

How much will the NCAA and its members have to pay down the line, if anything? And how will possible payments change the landscape of collegiate athletics as a whole? Those are questions to be considered as this case moves towards a conclusion.

One can definitely argue that there’s a division of the “haves” and “have-nots,” with five conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) being granted autonomy last year (thanks to football they also reel in more money that the other leagues. Possible changes regarding what athletes can receive in the future will make contracts such as the rights to the NCAA tournament (the governing body’s biggest money-maker) even more important down the line.

$60 million video game lawsuit settlement approved

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College athletes whose names, images and likenesses were used in video games distributed and published between May 2003 and September 2014 are one step closer to receiving their portion of a settlement agreed upon last year.

According to USA Today, US District Judge Claudia Wilken gave approval of the $60 million settlement, to which more than 20,000 college basketball and college football players have filed claims. For those who have yet to file a claim, they now have until July 31 to do so and current college athletes who may be impacted will not risk their eligibility by taking the settlement.

Judge Wilken still has to issue final written approval of the settlement, which would then trigger a 30-day period in which objections can be filed. If there are no objections, that would then begin the process of athletes receiving their portion of the settlement. According to the report Steve Berman, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case, estimates that athletes who received maximum exposure (based in part upon how many years they played in college)  in the games could receive up to $7,200.

What also helps the athletes in regards to how much money they could see from this is Judge Wilken’s statement regarding legal costs and fees due to the attorneys.

Speaking after a hearing Wilken held in California, Steve Berman said the judge also agreed to extend the deadline for affected athletes to file a claim through July 31. Berman also said Wilken told the attorneys involved in the case that she might be inclined to reduce the costs and fees that they will be awarded to 30% of the settlement rather than 33%. That would increase the amount of money available to affected athletes.

EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) settled with the plaintiffs in the “Ed O’Bannon lawsuit” in September 2013, which left the NCAA as the lone remaining defendant in that case. Judge Wilken ruled in favor of the plaintiffs last summer, with the NCAA responding by filing an appeal that was heard in mid-March.

Earlier this week it was ruled that the NCAA would have to pay $46 million in legal fees as a result of the lawsuit.