Day 7 of O’Bannon Trial: Lengthy Testimonies from Both Sides Continued

The O’Bannon trial continued with more witnesses from both sides appeared in Judge Claudia Wilken’s courtroom on Wednesday.  The University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides and the women’s athletic director at the University of Texas Christine Plonsky were among the NCAA’s witnesses while Electronic Art’s chief legal officer Joel Linzner appeared as one of the plaintiffs’ witnesses. Pastides, a member of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and of a committee in charge of the league’s governance reform, testified that the school’s revenue…
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Playing Basketball for a Division I School is a Hobby?

According to the NCAA manual, it is.  “The Principle of Amateurism” of the manual states that “[s]tudent participation in intercollegiate athletics is an avocation, and student-athletes should be protected from exploitation by professional and commercial enterprises.”  Further, “[s]tudent-athletes shall be amateurs in an intercollegiate sport, and their participation should be motivated primarily by education and by the physical, mental and social benefits to be derived.” The logic for the NCAA is that because student-athletes are amateurs in an intercollegiate sport, whose participation is an avocation,…
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Day 5 of the O’Bannon Trial: MONEY

Day 5 of the O’Bannon trial was about money.  How big of an empire is the NCAA in terms of its revenues?  An economist and the plaintiffs’ expert witness Dan Rascher said that from the 69 conference teams in the league there was a $1.3 billion surplus and about $6.4 billion of total broadcast revenues in Division 1 from 2005 to 2011.  Moreover,  no other sporting event produces more advertising revenues than the league’s basketball tournament in the U.S. Rascher continued that during the 2012-2013…
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Who’s Got the Rights?

On day four of the O’Bannon case, the dual between the athletes and the NCAA over the players’ rights in their names, images, and likeness or NIL took place.  The players argued that they own their NIL rights and the NCAA misappropriated those rights while the NCAA argued the players do not have such rights, at least in the context of live broadcasting of the games. The plaintiffs presented several TV broadcasting contracts, including one between the Big12 and Fox.  The relevant provision says, “The…
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Former NCAA Football Player Testifies in the O’Bannon Trial

On June 11, Tyrone Prothro, former wide receiver at University of Alabama, took the witness stand in a landmark anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA.  Prothro is most known for his 2005 legendary play dubbed as ‘The Catch’ which unfortunately left him with horrific injuries including a broken leg which was completely destroyed three weeks later in a game against Florida.  Since The Catch, Prothro underwent 10 leg surgeries that essentially ended his football career.  On the other hand, Alabama received $110,000 in general scholarship fund…
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Cases against the NCAA and its Conferences over Athletic Scholarship Rules Get Consolidated

On June 4, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided to consolidate two lawsuits over athletic scholarship rules in the Northern District of California where similar litigation is pending. Currently presiding over the Ed O’Bannon case on misappropriation of likeness, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken will hear the two cases over the cap imposed on athletic scholarships—one brought by Shawne Alston and the other by Marvin Jenkins. Alston filed a suit against the NCAA, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 in March…
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NCAA Players Agree to a $40 million Settlement with EA Sports

Leaving the NCAA as a sole defendant, NCAA football and basketball players reached a settlement with EA Sports in the case involving alleged misappropriation of the athletes’ likeness.  The $40 million settlement after attorney fees would provide approximately $4,000 to as many as 100,000 former and current NCAA players whose images EA Sports used in its college basketball and football video games since 2003.  The agreement awaits an approval by a federal judge presiding over the case.  For each registered eligible player, the settlement amount…
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NCAA Separation Order

The NCAA is currently facing two related antitrust lawsuits regarding their ban on student-athlete compensation.  The first case, brought by former student-athlete and professional athlete Ed O’Bannon, is now set for trial on June 9, 2014.  The second case, brought by former student-athlete Sam Keller, is set for March of 2015. Ed O’Bannon brought his case in 2009, 10 years after his retirement, when he saw his name and likeness being broadcasted by the NCAA during a basketball tournament.  O’Bannon is not seeking a monetary…
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NCAA Fights Consolidation in Anti-trust Scholarship Cases

The NCAA, facing legal battles on several fronts regarding student-athlete compensation, is fighting to keep multiple class action suits from being centralized. Former student-athlete, Shawne Alston, filed a lawsuit in Oakland, CA, back in March, 2014, claiming the NCAA has violated federal anti-trust laws by fixing scholarship awards below the actual full cost of attendance.  Many students, including Alston, need to take out loans in addition to their scholarships to cover their actual full cost of attendance because registration fees and other daily living expenses…
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What Are the Potential Effects of the Northwestern NLRB Decision on New York Compensation Claims?

Prior entries to Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog have discussed in detail some of the legal and practical issues for college football programs made by the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision regarding Northwestern University football players. (Recent blog entries have analyzed the ramifications on university athletic programs and student-athletes, as well as the responses of coaches and players.) In addition to the civil liability issues discussed in those articles, particularized problems would arise in the workers’ compensation context…
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