Judge grants joint request to expedite O’Bannon v. NCAA appeal process

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With the NCAA having to deal with multiple lawsuits that could have a significant impact on the way in which collegiate athletics are run, it’s understandable that their lawyers would like to see things move in a more expedient manner when it comes to the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in favor of the plaintiffs last month, meaning that past and present athletes could be compensated for the use of their name, images and likenesses (NIL). The NCAA, as expected, appealed the ruling and both sides of the suit have found something they agree on: their desire to have the appeal process expedited. In the initial ruling, Wilken issued an injunction (which will go into effect August 1, 2015) preventing the NCAA from enforcing rules that would prohibit member institutions from offering recruits “a limited share of the revenues” that could be gained from the use of their NIL.

Expediting the appeal would ensure that the final ruling would be made before August 1, 2015, and according to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today it was announced Wednesday that the joint motion filed in an attempt to have the appeal expedited has been granted. The NCAA’s opening brief is now due November 14. Other deadlines of importance in this appeal are January 21 (when the plaintiffs will need to have its answer to the brief submitted by) and February 11 (when the NCAA’s response to the plaintiffs’ report will be due).

The NCAA, according to the filing, wanted the appeal decided before the association and the schools would be “forced to make fundamental changes to the administration of collegiate athletics and to their relationship with students.”

Under a normal schedule, it is likely the appellate court wouldn’t have heard oral arguments in the case until late in 2015.

Wilken’s ruling, that NCAA rules limiting what revenue sport athletes can receive as part of their scholarships violated federal antitrust laws, could potentially change the way in which NCAA members do business in the future if the appeal is denied. However there have already been changes, with the five major college football conferences being granted autonomy during the summer being the most notable.

Also, prior restrictions on how much food schools can give their athletes being removed, and other changes to the way in which schools support their athletes have been made as well. With there being other lawsuits for the NCAA to deal with, even with an expedited ruling of the O’Bannon appeal it may be years before we know see the final result of all these changes.