In this exclusive interview on the Legal Broadcast Network, plaintiffs’ attorney Michael D. Hausfeld discusses the appeal in O'Bannon v. NCAA, in which his clients prevailed against the NCAA, obtaining a ruling that the Association was violating the federal antitrust law. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to an expedited appeal. Hausfeld will be asking the NCAA to change its rules, including the penalty for charging for autographs that caused Todd Gurley to be suspended and threatens the college career of Jameis Winston as well.
Hausfeld contends that the NCAA is clearly ignoring the ruling of the trial judge in the O'Bannon case by continuing to prohibit the selling of their likenesses and feels that a judicial remedy is needed to prevent the NCAA from further ruining the career of either Todd Gurley or Jameis Winston. [Note: the O’Bannon case was the subject of an earlier LBN report.]
Hausfeld says that the trial court’s ruling was what the plaintiffs were seeking. “The NCAA has been contending . . . that they are an association . . . immune from liability under the federal antitrust laws.” The trial court instead found that the NCAA was in violation of the antitrust laws and essentially told the NCAA that it would have to enact new rules that would not be in violation to the court’s finding.
Hausfeld points out that Judge Wilken made no assessment of damages, only liability. Her findings related to what the NCAA could not do. She found that the NCAA was engaging in unlawful restraints on what college athletes were permitted to do.
Hausfeld notes that the NCAA has imposed restraints on what athletes like Todd Gurley could do as to receiving compensation for autograph signing. “The actions taken by the NCAA against these athletes for receiving compensation for the signing of their autographs is cruelly in violation of the judge’s findings.” Hausfeld will send a letter to the NCAA asking it to immediately withdraw the suspensions and stop enforcing other rules the court has said were wrong.
At the trial, there was testimony from college athletic directors and others to the effect that a payment of $5,000-$10,000 paid to any athlete over and above his or her scholarship would not jeopardize college athletics. Also, athletes are being shortchanged on what they receive in scholarship payment compared to nonathletes.
Michael D. Hausfeld is the chairman of Hausfeld Global Litigation Solutions. His career has included some of the largest and most successful class actions in the fields of human rights, discrimination and antitrust law. In the landmark O’Bannon v. NCAA litigation, Michael represented a class of current and former Division I men's basketball and FBS football players against the NCAA and its member institutions, based on rules foreclosing athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. At the conclusion of a three-week bench trial, the Court determined that the NCAA had violated the antitrust laws and issued a permanent injunction as requested by the plaintiffs. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.