When Judge Claudia Wilken announced her ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit it was assumed that, despite what some believed to be a favorable ruling in spite of the defeat, the NCAA would file an appeal. On Thursday the NCAA acted on its stated intention, filing a notice of appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We are appealing the Court’s decision because we do not believe the NCAA has violated the antitrust laws,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “In its decision, the Court acknowledged that changes to the rules that govern college athletics would be better achieved outside the courtroom, and the NCAA continues to believe that the Association and its members are best positioned to evolve its rules and processes to better serve student-athletes.
“The reform conversation began long before this lawsuit and the changes announced earlier this month are evidence of the NCAA continually working to improve the student-athlete experience.”
Wilken’s ruling was that the NCAA violated antitrust laws when restricting athletes’ ability to be compensated for the use of their name in likeness (NIL), and on Wednesday she clarified when the O’Bannon injunction would go into effect. The injunction won’t impact NCAA rules until August 1, 2015, with incoming freshmen during the 2016-17 academic year being the first with the ability to be compensated for the use of their NIL.
Compensated athletes can receive no more than what would cover the gap between their grant-in-aid and the total cost of attendance according to Wilken’s ruling. The five high-revenue conferences were granted autonomy earlier this month, and one of their stated goals is to cover the full cost of attendance for scholarship athletes.