U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled Friday that the NCAA can’t stop college football and basketball players from profiting off the rights to their names and likenesses.
Here are the key facts about the lawsuit and the Friday’s ruling:
WHO WAS INVOLVED: Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon filed the original lawsuit in 2009. Since then, several other athletes joined as plaintiffs, including Celtics legend Bill Russell. The original defendants in the case were the NCAA, along with Electronic Arts, Inc. and Collegiate Licensing Company.
WHAT WAS AT ISSUE: They plaintiffs contended that the NCAA violates antitrust law by preventing athletes from making money off the use of their names, images and likenesses.
WHAT THE RULING DOES: Student-athletes can’t go out and sell their names and likenesses to the highest bidder. But the ruling prevents the NCAA the “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.”
THERE WAS A CATCH: Wilken said in the ruling that the NCAA could set a cap on the money paid to athletes, as long as it allows at least $5,000 a year for big school football and basketball players.
WHEN IT HAPPENS: Not will until the start of the next Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Division I basketball recruiting cycle.
QUOTING: “College sports generate a tremendous amount of interest, as well as revenue and controversy. Interested parties have strong and conflicting opinions about the best policies to apply in regulating these sports. Before the Court in this case is only whether the NCAA violates antitrust law by agreeing with its member schools to restrain their ability to compensate Division I men’s basketball and FBS football players any more than the current association rules allow. For the reasons set forth above, the Court finds that this restraint does violate antitrust law.” — Wilken wrote in the ruling.
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