Judge rules NCAA violated antitrust law in Ed O’Bannon case

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It’s been a tough week for the NCAA as a federal judge ruled on Friday that the NCAA’s rules prohibiting student-athletes from being paid for the use of their name, image or likeness violates antitrust law. The ruling, handed down from U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, comes from the five-year lawsuit involving former UCLA star basketball player Ed O’Bannon.

Earlier in the week, the NCAA Board allowed autonomy to take place within the Power 5 conferences.

How the change in Division I power structure changes college hoops

The ruling from Wilken allows for licensing revenue to be shared in the form of a trust fund that will be established for student-athletes to share.

In her 99-page opinion, Wilken issued an injuction “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.”

Wilken said the injunction will not take effect until the start of the next football and basketball recruiting cycles. The injunction will also not be stayed pending any appeal of her order.

The injunction will not prevent the NCAA from setting rules capping the amount of money that can be paid to student-athletes while they’re enrolled in school, but the NCAA is not allowed to set that cap below the cost of attendance.

The injunction will also 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,” Wilken wrote.

With the ruling in the O’Bannon case, Wilken also said that the NCAA can continue to enforce all of its other existing rules.

“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 NCAA responded to the ruling with a statement from NCAA 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.”

You can read Wilken’s full 99-page ruling here, as published by USA Today.