Posted January 30, 2013

NCAA athletes can pursue television money, judge rules

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A California judge ruled Tuesday that the NCAA cannot prevent football and men’s basketball players from legally pursuing a portion of live broadcast revenues, reports ESPN.com.

Judge Claudia Wilken rejected the NCAA’s motion that players in the anti-trust suit led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon should be precluded from advancing their lawsuit on procedural grounds. The NCAA’s filed a 33-page motion last October to strike the certification motion. A certification hearing has been set for June 20, and Wilken ordered the NCAA to make arguments against class certification on the merits rather than procedural objections.

“Now the (NCAA and its co-defendants) are facing potential liability in the billions of dollars instead of tens or hundreds of millions,” said Michael Hausfeld, interim lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “It’s a more accurate context for what the players deserve.”

Players who play collegiate sports don’t have a union to help them negotiate share of revenues that come from media and other licensing contracts. Plaintiffs in the O’Bannon suit sued the NCAA, Collegiate Licensing Company and EA Sports over the commercialized use of athletes’ image, name and likeness.

“Although our motion to strike was denied, the judge has signaled skepticism on plaintiff’s class-certification motion and recognized the plaintiffs’ radical change in their theory of the case,” NCAA general counsel Donald Remy said. “This is a step in the right direction toward allowing the NCAA to further demonstrate why this case is wrong on the law and that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that this case satisfies the criteria for class litigation.”


21 comments
cram1742
cram1742

Everyone seem to be assuming that the only end-game here results in the student-athletes getting compensated going forward.  What if the plaintiffs in this case receive compensation for past used of likeness, image, or name, and going forward the NCAA and member institutions (as well as sponsorship partners as well as TV and radio) is barred from using the likeness of any student-athlete in promotional or information advertising? Legitimate coverage of the game (or performance, meet, event, etc. ) would be acceptable but the NCAA, TV radio network, advertising partners and member institution can not profit directly from a particular player's likeness, name, number, image, or and representation.   

jdgaucho09
jdgaucho09

So are all those schools who don't play football or dropped it going to be better off than those who have it?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

I want to see this happen - the athletes being paid. There is certainly something in the 'unintended consequences' argument, and that should be considered as well, but the billions that NCAA schools have made off the players borders on the indecent. In fact, it IS indecent. See how the NCAA is already trying to spin the judges decision ('the judge has signaled skepticism') hoping to pretend they won here. They did not. And it is a major step in the right direction.

DarrylCobble
DarrylCobble

If the schools had of compromised and not been so blood thirsty greedy 25 or 30 years ago and just given these kids a monthly living expense in addition to scholarships,then this wouldn't be a possibility today! the University's brought this on their self's!!!  

Fifilo
Fifilo

Finally a step in the right direction. They, as well as coaches and school administrators, hide behind the farce of education while feeding like bloated leeches off the work that these kids do for free.

 

The NCAA needs to die.

Izulde
Izulde

Oh dear.  Unintended consequences will be disastrous here.  Despite excellent arguments by Branch and others, this sort of outcome will, much as Lynn suggests, mean the death of the nonrevenue sports.  Remember, as it is, only a handful of Division I schools turn a profit.

LynnRoberts
LynnRoberts

Remember, when the football and basketball players win the right to take the money, that will be the end of the scholarships in baseball, softball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track and field, both indoor an outdoor, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's ice hockey, field hockey, men'a and women's tennis, lacrosse, men's and women's swimming and diving.....

 

And, that is even though the men's football and basketball players have scholarships worth into six figures, and that gives them a $1.5-2.0 MILLION DOLLAR future income advantage over non-college students.....

flip_201
flip_201

I completely disagree. These schools are making way to much money on the backs of college athletes. This is suppose to be college students playing for fun and a chance to eventually make it to the NBA if they show hard work and a talent to be in it. Not to go to a college and get paid to be there. It just turns college basketball into the NBA's potentail super minor league system where student athletes get paid to go to college. Wish all student athletes could do that. Whats wrong with the current amateur system for college athletes? Go after these schools for turning sports into such a money making system where they make millions off of the backs of the college student?

 

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

I hope athletes can get some compensation for what they do. These schools make so much money off these kids and it's a joke that the athletes can't get a little something, too. Their jerseys are sold in stores and their likenesses are on video games, and they can't profit off that? Who are the real crooks here?

Gle
Gle

 @Izulde Well then maybe schools should quit paying 2.5M/year for medicore coaches. 

Ryan19
Ryan19

 @LynnRoberts Lynn, you are making some major assumptions on how this would play out.  This can easily be done without hurting non-profit sports or involving Title IX issues by not having the schools pay more, but letting boosters (or agents) take care of extra benefits.  Andy Staples had a good article on this a few days back (the 24th I think).  Here is an excerpt from that article:

 

"The best solution remains something similar to what has long been advocated by ESPN basketball analyst -- and attorney and former student-athlete -- Jay Bilas. Embrace the same model as the Olympics. In 2011, I offered a truncated rewrite of the NCAA rulebook that would incorporate the Olympic model. Don't allow schools to pay more -- this takes care of the tax and Title IX issues -- but allow anyone else to pay any athlete they choose. Yahoo! columnist Dan Wetzel proposed a similar system on Wednesday."

 

I recommend his article and it has links to his 2011 article and Wetzel's column.  It even addresses some of your inevitable concerns or counter-arguments.  

LynnRoberts
LynnRoberts

 @jdgaucho09 But, then they won't have enough money to field ANY of the other 26 sports....even though the schools get basketball money, if they field the minimum required 14 sports, that means about 150 full scholarships, about $3 MILLION a year in costs, before you add in the facilities, salaries, and other expenditures....there won't be enough money for the other sports...

 

And, Title IX won't even be close to being met...

 

LynnRoberts
LynnRoberts

@mjw149 @LynnRoberts @jdgaucho09 You are right. The hundred-thousands of athletes on scholarships in the non revenue sports can go back to doing what they did before. Many will be successful in their lives, even go to college. Just as many won't have that chance. Your jealous of the success of football and basketball. I'm proud of their success because it helped those like me have their chance not only to play a sport at a very high level but to become successful in the rest of my life. That chance may not have been there if not for their success.

mjw149
mjw149

 @LynnRoberts  @jdgaucho09 Oh, no, they'll have to go back to education to make a living and stop being millionaires running a lucrative minor league sport.  

 

The horror!

jdgaucho09
jdgaucho09

 @LynnRoberts We make it work.  Gonzaga, VCU and George Mason make it work.  There aren't too many other examples but they do exist.