Judge rules against NCAA on compensation

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(WGHP file photo)

A federal judge on Friday ruled in favor of a former UCLA college basketball star who sued to end the NCAA’s control over the rights to college athletes’ names, images and likenesses.

In a landmark decision, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken sided with Ed O’Bannon in his lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Wilken, in a 99-page ruling, wrote: “The court finds that the challenged NCAA rules unreasonably restrain trade in the market for certain educational and athletic opportunities offered by NCAA Division I schools.”

Wilken issued an injunction that will prevent the NCAA “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.”

NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said: “We disagree with the court’s decision that NCAA rules violate antitrust laws. We note that the court’s decision sets limits on compensation, but are reviewing the full decision and will provide further comment later.”

O’Bannon’s lawsuit sought to end the NCAA’s control over the rights to athletes’ names, images and likenesses.

When athletes commit to a university, players are required to sign a waiver that relinquishes their right to their own likenesses in every form.

That means they can’t make money off their television appearances, their jerseys, or in any other way.

The universities get any revenues from selling sports paraphernalia or other material related to the players.

The O’Bannon suit alleged the waivers the athletes are required to sign are illegal and asked that players be able to collectively negotiate the terms of their likenesses in order to keep a share of those profits.

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