BY SPNW Staff 02:09PM 05/23/2014

Suit by ex-players vs. NCAA goes to trial June 9

Unless a settlement is reached, the NCAA will stand trial against former players in an antitrust suit that threatens the foundation of big-time college sports. A federal judge Friday denied the NCAA’s request to delay the trial, which starts in federal court June 9 in Oakland, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Filed by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and 20 others, including basketball greats Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson, the plaintiffs claim the NCAA conspired to restrain competition in Division I sports and in the group licensing of broadcasts and video games.

A related trial, previously combined with the O’Bannon case, against video-game maker Electronic Arts, was set for March 2015 by Judge Claudia Wilken, who has presided over the case. The plaintiffs say EA misappropriated athletes’ names and likenesses without compensation for NCAA-branded games.

The suit seeks an injunction that could allow athletes to band together and sell their services to colleges, either in the form of pay or extra benefits the NCAA doesn’t currently allow.

This month, the plaintiffs dropped their demand for individual damages, narrowing the scope of the trial.

An interview with mediator Kenneth Feinberg by legal expert Michael McCann that  explores how a college sports world might look with athletes receiving compensation is linked here.


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