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NCAA appealing O'Bannon ruling

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Aug 10 2014 11:26:44 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 11 2014 10:10:57 AM CDT
closeup of basketball seams, ball

Jason Antony/SXC

The NCAA will appeal Friday's ruling in the Ed O'Bannon case.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the NCAA's restrictions on compensation for major college football and men's basketball players violate antitrust laws.

She issued the ruling in a 99-page decision that sided with O'Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player, and a group of plaintiffs. It stated that the NCAA unlawfully prevented college football and basketball players from being paid for the use of their names, images and likenesses.

NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement Sunday that it will appeal the decision.

"We remain confident that the NCAA has not violated the antitrust laws and intend to appeal," Remy said. "We will also be seeking clarity from the District Court on some details of its ruling."

Wilken said the injunction will not prevent the NCAA from implementing rules that limit the amount of money college athletes can be paid while they are enrolled in school, but it cannot set the limit below the cost of attendance.

"It should be noted that the Court supported several of the NCAA's positions, and we share a commitment to better support student-athletes," Remy said. "For more than three years, we've been working to improve the college experience for the more than 460,000 student-athletes across all three divisions. On Thursday, the Division I Board of Directors passed a new governance model allowing schools to better support student-athletes, including covering the full cost of attendance, one of the central components of the injunction. The Court also agreed that the integration of academics and athletics is important and supported by NCAA rules.

"Further, the Court rejected the plaintiffs' claims that the NCAA licensed student-athletes' names, images and likenesses to EA Sports or anyone else. It also rejected the plaintiffs' proposed model where athletes could directly market their names, images and likenesses while in college.

"We look forward to presenting our arguments on appeal, and in the meantime we will continue to champion student-athlete success on the field and in the classroom."

Joseph Farelli, an attorney who specializes in labor law, told the Associated Press on Sunday that he was not surprised that the NCAA is appealing the decision.

"I would expect them to appeal it because now you're going to have a permanent injunction that says the NCAA can't regulate what colleges do with their student-athletes," Farelli said. "If they don't appeal, now you have a federal court precedent."

The ruling is effective at the start of the next football and basketball recruiting cycles.

The decision also allows the plaintiffs to recoup their legal costs from the NCAA.