With Judge Claudia Wilken ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit last month, the NCAA’s limiting of what scholarship athletes could receive was deemed to be a violation of federal antitrust laws. The defendant is appealing this ruling of course, with some schools and conferences taking measures to meet the full cost of attendance in the process.
But that ruling is also being used as the basis of a motion filed by the NCAA and 11 conferences named as defendants asking that two other lawsuits relating to scholarships be dismissed, according to USA Today. One of the lawsuits, which includes former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston, includes former athletes in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball in 11 conferences. The other suit, which is being led by lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, covers athletes in men’s basketball and football.
In Thursday night’s filing, the NCAA and the conferences wrote that a decision in either of these suits to eliminate the limits “would directly conflict with this Court’s decision and injunction” in the O’Bannon case — although the NCAA and the conferences noted that they “respectfully disagree” with Wilken’s ruling in O’Bannon, which the NCAA had appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The NCAA’s strategy is an interesting one, especially when considering the fact that they’re using a verdict from a case they’re appealing as the reason why they want the suits dismissed. Final decisions in these cases, and the impact of those decisions on collegiate athletics, won’t be known for quite some time. There seems to be general agreement that the model will change in some form was a result of these cases, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how.