NCAA: What To Do With $9 Million?

The marathon antitrust case commenced in 2009 between the NCAA and former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and other former student athletes continues to this day. Several disgruntled former student athletes are suing the NCAA for wrongfully profiting off their likeness. The former students argue that the NCAA wrongfully used and profited from their names, images and likeness in various ways — including video games like EASports — without being compensated for it.

Last May, U.S. District Judge Wilken ordered the NCAA to immediately pay out $9 million of more than $42 million in fees it owes pending a decision by the Supreme Court. The NCAA interprets this ruling to mean that the $9 million be paid out if the Supreme Court takes up the case and affirms the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that the NCAA indeed violated federal antitrust law. However, the NCAA believes that the students interpret the ruling to mean that the players interpret the decision to mean that they be paid out regardless of whether the Supreme court declines to hear the case.

The NCAA now seeks a clarification from a California federal judge as to the timing of the payout and requests that the court sides with their interpretation of the order. In the meantime and as a result of this impasse, the money has been placed in an escrow account. Contrary to the expectations of some, former students will have to wait some more before they see any of the money.


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