IBJNews

NCAA loses bid to dismiss ex-athletes’ antitrust claims

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The National Collegiate Athletic Association lost a bid Friday to dismiss antitrust claims in a lawsuit brought by ex-student athletes over the use of their images and likenesses on television and in video games.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, Calif., denied the NCAA’s request to throw out claims by the former college basketball and football players that the association conspired to block them from commercial use of their names, images and likenesses.

A four-year-old lawsuit by former University of California-Los Angeles college basketball forward Ed O’Bannon challenges the traditional notion that only the NCAA, conferences and schools can profit from selling the rights to players’ likenesses used in broadcasts and other media.

The Indianapolis-based NCAA says the claims are trumped by its rules designating college athletes as amateurs. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 1984 ruling upheld those rules, which barred any payment to student players in order to preserve the quality and character of college sports.

Wilken said rules maintaining “the revered tradition of amateurism in college sports” don’t “stand for the sweeping proposition that student-athletes must be barred, both during their college years and forever thereafter, from receiving any monetary compensation for the commercial use of the names, images and likenesses.”

Wilken said the NCAA may still challenge the athletes’ antitrust claims at a later stage of the case, and the players will need to show evidence that archival game footage and live game broadcasts were used primarily for commercial purposes. She gave the NCAA 14 days to respond to the athletes’ amended complaint.

Donald Remy, NCAA’s chief legal officer, said the antitrust issues in the case will be decided later.

“We continue to believe the rules establishing the revered traditions of college sports are fully consistent with the antitrust laws, as the U.S. Supreme Court and other court have repeatedly made clear,” said Remy by e-mail. “We expect to seek judgment in our favor on these new live broadcast claims in our upcoming summary judgment motion.”

Wilken is weighing the players’ request to certify the lawsuit as a class action, or group, lawsuit that would cover tens of thousands of athletes whose interests would be represented in a single case.

O’Bannon alleged that the NCAA conspired with video game maker Electronic Arts Inc. to restrain athletes’ ability to profit from the use of their likenesses. EA announced in September that it settled claims against it and will pay athletes $40 million. The second-largest U.S. video-game publisher also said it was canceling its college football title for next year because of legal issues.

“It’s a fairly one-sided order in favor of the student athletes and opens the pathway to have their claims under antitrust laws to be heard,” Robert Carey, O’Bannon’s attorney said by phone. A trial has been scheduled for 2015, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. "This was a very localized, Indiana issue," he said. As in, Indiana failed to expand Medicaid to cover its poor citizens resulting in the loss of essential medical services, including this EMS company. Well done, Indiana GOP. Here are the real death panels: GOP state governments who refuse to expand Medicaid for political reasons.

  2. In the "one for all, all for none" socialist doctrine the sick die...this plus obama"care" equates to caucasian genocide plus pushed flight to cities thus further eroding the conservative base and the continualed spiral toward complete liberal/progressive/marxist America.

  3. There is a simple reason why WISH is not reporting on this story. LIN has others stations in different markets that are affiliated with CBS. Reporting about CBS blindsiding WISH/LIN due to CBS's greed and bullying tatics would risk any future negoations LIN will have with CBS in other markets.

  4. My best always! Dave Wilson

  5. How did Columbus, Ohio pull off a car share service without a single dollar of public subsidies? They must not have a mayor who is on the take like Indianapolis. Daimler Benz offers Columbus residents their Smart Cars on a market-driven basis: "This has some neat features. Cars don’t have to be picked up and dropped off at fixed points. You find one with your smart phone based on GPS, and drop it off anywhere in the service area you can find a spot – even at a meter. These cars aren’t required to feed the meter so you get free on street parking while using them. I was told this system was put in place on a market basis without subsidies – and that the vendor actually pays the city for the use of the meters." http://www.urbanophile.com/2014/05/26/checking-in-on-columbus/

ADVERTISEMENT