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Tuesday, February 09, 2010
O'Bannon v. NCAA Moves to Discovery

Pete Thamel of the New York Times writes this morning about a federal judge denying the NCAA's motion for dismissal in O'Bannon v. NCAA, a lawsuit which concerns whether former NCAA student-athletes should receive compensation for the NCAA's use of their images and likenesses. The ruling means that the NCAA's licensing contracts, and many other types of documents, will be subject to discovery.

Pete interviews me for the story, which is excerpted below.

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“This is a truly historic day — to our knowledge, no one has ever gotten behind the scenes to examine how student-athletes’ current and future rights in their images are divided up and sold,” said Jon T. King of Hausfeld LLP, one of the lead lawyers representing O’Bannon.

The N.C.A.A.’s licensing deals are estimated at more than $4 billion, although all of those deals may not be made public in this case. The N.C.A.A. said in a statement that it was confident in its case. “We’re pleased that the court recognized defects in some of the claims made by plaintiffs and dismissed those,” said a statement provided by the N.C.A.A. spokesman Erik Christianson. “The court’s other rulings at this preliminary stage of the cases do not diminish the N.C.A.A.’s confidence that we will ultimately prevail on all of the claims.”

The significance of this case appears to transcend financial reward, as its cuts to the core of the N.C.A.A.’s amateurism ideals.

“We think the N.C.A.A. will defend this case saying they are protecting amateurism and trying to prevent excess commercialization,” King said. “That’s their mantra in regard to the big-business aspect. We think their hypocrisy will be fully exposed once their numbers are put in the public eye.”

Michael McCann, a professor at Vermont Law School who specializes in sports law, called Monday’s ruling a “setback” for the N.C.A.A. He said that the case would probably be followed closely by members of Congress who were interested in the N.C.A.A.’s tax-exempt status.

“I think it’s an important case because it gets at the core of the student-athlete mission and the issue that new players have in terms of waiving away potential benefits they may enjoy when they’re out of college,” McCann said.

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To read the rest, click here (or turn to page B14 of today's New York Times). To read an column I wrote on O'Bannon v. NCAA, click here.


Good its about time.

Blogger EbolaMuffins -- 2/09/2010 7:07 PM  

The stakes of O'Bannon v. NCAA are enormous. If O'Bannon and former student-athletes prevail or receive a favorable settlement, the NCAA, along with its member conferences and schools, could be required to pay tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars in damages -- particularly since damages are trebled under federal antitrust law. The marketplace for goods may change as well, with potentially more competition over the identities and likenesses of former college stars.

Anonymous Pariuri Sportive -- 2/11/2010 5:44 AM  

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