Posted November 08, 2013

Report: Federal judge partially certifies Ed O’Bannon suit vs. NCAA

Ed O'Bannon, Legal Matters, NCAA
Ed O'Bannon won a national championship in 1995 with UCLA. (Bernstein Associates/Getty Images)

Ed O’Bannon won a national championship in 1995 with UCLA. (Bernstein Associates/Getty Images)

A federal judge on Friday partially certified the class-action bid of the plaintiffs in O’Bannon v. NCAASteve Berkowitz of USA Today reports.

Thanks to a ruling by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, the plaintiffs, made up of current and former college football and basketball players, will be allowed to challenge current NCAA rules surrounding the compensation of student-athletes. Wilken denied the plaintiffs’ request to certify a class seeking millions of dollars in damages from the NCAA for the use of players’ names and likenesses.

STAPLES: A complete case primer for Ed O’Bannon v. the NCAA

The case originally pitted former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and several other current and former student-athletes against the NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company and sought damages for the use of student-athletes’ likenesses in video games and television broadcasts. In September, EA and CLC announced settlements in their portions of the lawsuit, leaving the NCAA as the lone defendant. Last month Wilken denied the NCAA’s motion to dismiss the suit.

In a statement, NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said Wilken’s decision to prevent the plaintiffs from seeking damages was the correct one.

“We have long maintained that the plaintiffs in this matter are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. This ruling is one step closer to validating that position. We are pleased that the Court correctly found that conducting a class-wide trial for claimed damages for student-athletes who played college football and men’s basketball going back nearly a decade would be completely unmanageable and unprecedented. The plaintiffs in this case were seeking substantial damages based on erroneous theories for maintaining a class. The Court correctly removed these claims from this case.”


The very best thing for big time college football is that the schools dump the NCAA altogether.  I'm tempted to say the same for basketball, but they do get the tournament right (however, the threatened addition of more teams may negate even that).  The NCAA is outdated, outmoded, and out of step with the 21st century realities. The sooner it is left in the dust the better.


Interesting developments here, the schools/NCAA make so much money off players. A major program college athlete has just about a full time job playing for, practicing with, and representing their respective universities. Getting a free ride in exchange used to be a fair trade off when there was less money on the table for the NCAA, Universities, and corporate interests. If we agree that the NCAA is a business, is it fair to keep the athletes (employees) labeled only as students? I don't have the answers, but the NCAA should think seriously about making some changes to their bylaws. This case will obviously help determine if they do, however I fear if they come out on top they will continue business as usual. 

Also, check out a very young Jason Kidd in the