NCAA Football News

Federal Judge Rules Against NCAA in O'Bannon Trial

College athletes earned a major victory in the courtroom when a federal judge decided the NCAA cannot prohibit payment to players.

Steve Berkowitz of USA Today provides the details:

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, in a 99-page ruling in favor of a group of plaintiffs led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, 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."

You can view the entire decision online, courtesy of USA Today. The plaintiff's case, led by Ed O'Bannon, argued that players should be paid when their likeness is used, whether that includes video games, jersey sales or other uses.

The NCAA released a statement after the decision:

“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. As evidenced by yesterday’s Board of Directors action, the NCAA is committed to fully supporting student-athletes.”

– NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy

CBS Sports' Jon Solomon quotes the judge on her ruling that says the NCAA is prohibited from "enforcing any rules to prevent its member schools and conferences from offering to deposit a limited share of licensing revenue in trust for their FBS football and Division I basketball recruits, payable when they leave school or their eligibility expires."

In this scenario, the players could receive payment after their time at school comes to an end, whether that is due to graduation or other reasons.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports notes there will likely be appeals to counter the decision by Wilken:

However, Randy Getlin of Yahoo Sports agrees that this is an important moment that will alter college athletics:

This decision comes just one day after the NCAA announced it would give more power to its five richest conferences. According to The Associated Press, the NCAA Board of Directors voted 16-2 to give the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC the ability to write some of their own rules.

As ESPN's Jeff Goodman points out, this will cause the NCAA to lose even more power going forward:

If this ruling stands, it becomes the first step toward paying college athletes. This has long been a point of contention regarding the NCAA, with some players even attempting to form unions


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