In what analysts predict to be one of the major sports law decisions of the century, the NCAA today lost the antitrust case that had been argued in The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, when Judge Claudia Wilkens in a 99 page ruling determined that the current structure of the NCAA "unreasonably restrains trade" in violation of antitrust laws.
In what has become known as the "O'Bannon case", it was argued by former NCAA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, as lead plaintiff, that the NCAA has for decades unreasonably profited from the images, efforts and skills of college football and basketball players. The judge in her ruling issued an injunction which in its plain wording would prevent the NCAA from "enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their FBS football or Division 1 basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images and likenesses in addition to a full grant in aid."
The case which was led by noted class action Attorney Michael Hausfeld, will now move to a follow up hearing on August 20th at which time the judge will consider responses and motions, which in all likelihood will move the case to US Appeals Court. As a prior commentator and guest on The Legal Broadcast Network, we look forward to having Attorney Hausfeld on our shows next week, along with other legal commentators to explain the impact of this landmark case in sports law.