Appeals court grants stay of injunction in O’Bannon lawsuit


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.