• O'Bannon Judge Rules NCAA Violates Antitrust Law

    One day following the NCAA Division I board of directors voting 16-2 to allow the schools in the top five conferences to write many of their own rules, the judge in the O'Bannon v. NCAA case ruled that the NCAA violates antitrust law and that trust funds should be established for student-athletes to share in licensing revenue.

    Continue on to read more about the latest developments in this ongoing saga and how it may lead to the eventual return of EA SPORTS NCAA Football.

    UPDATE - No surprise: The NCAA plans to appeal the ruling.

    Per ESPN: The autonomy measures -- which the power conferences had all but demanded -- will permit those leagues to decide on things such as cost-of-attendance stipends and insurance benefits for players, staff sizes, recruiting rules and mandatory hours spent on individual sports.

    From CBS Sports: A federal judge ruled Friday that the NCAA's rules prohibiting athletes from being paid for use of their names, images and likeness violate antitrust law because they "unreasonably restrain trade." The ruling in the five-year case of the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit allows for trust funds to be established for athletes to share in licensing revenue.

    In a 99-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued an injunction “that will enjoin the NCAA from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their FBS football or Division I 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.” Wilken said the injunction will not prevent the NCAA from implementing rules capping the amount of money that may be paid to college athletes while they are enrolled in school, but the NCAA will not be allowed to set the cap below the cost of attendance.

    The injunction will also prohibit the NCAA from “enforcing any rules to prevent its member schools and conferences from offering to deposit a limited share of licensing revenue in trust for their FBS football and Division I basketball recruits, payable when they leave school or their eligibility expires,” Wilken wrote. Her injunction will allow the NCAA to set a cap on the money held in that trust, but prohibits the NCAA's cap to be less than $5,000 for every year an athlete remains academically eligible to compete. The money in the fund would be payable to athletes upon expiration of their athletic eligibility or graduation, whichever comes first.

    Wilken said the injunction will not be stayed pending any appeal of her order, but will not take effect until the start of the next football and basketball recruiting cycles. The injunction will not affect any recruit who will enroll in college before July 1, 2016, Wilken wrote. The plaintiffs are allowed to recover their costs from the NCAA.


    For the full article from CBS Sports' Jon Solomon, click here.

    Following the decision, the NCAA issued this statement:


    To view the entire 99-page ruling (PDF) click here.

    While it is considered likely that there will be an appeal by the NCAA, they must respond by August 20. They also must prepare for the lawsuit against them filed by sports attorney Jeffrey Kessler that seeks to establish a free market for athletes.

    How does this ruling effect the possibility of NCAA Football returning? Some outlets weigh in:

    SB Nation: The biggest winner? The NCAA. They were already likely to give students NIL money in the future, and now they don't have to open up the market. This is the best scenario it could have possibly hoped for. However, you could also classify video game players as the biggest winners. Since Judge Wilken ruled restrictions on athletes being paid for the use of their likenesses is illegal, that means athletes could theoretically be paid for their appearances in video games, and EA said that it would like to bring back the game if it can pay players.

    Pastapadre: Essentially EA could now negotiate with the NCAA for rights to all athlete names and likenesses by paying a lump sum that would then be directed in part to the trust for the players. The NCAA can appeal but the injunction will not be stayed during that process. It’s unclear then for now whether EA Sports would be able to secure the rights they had before, and obtain those of the players, immediately so they could begin production on a college football game for next summer. It may be a bit optimistic to expect that to happen with legal hurdles still in place but it now appears to be a real possibility within the next few years while a more unfavorable ruling for either side likely would have pushed that window back much farther.
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. souljahbill's Avatar
      souljahbill -
      Taken from another thread:

      Quote Originally Posted by souljahbill View Post
      So, since O'Bannon won, does this mean that, as payment, EA can give a free copy of the game to any player who agrees to be in a new NCAA game? To me, if that's the case, they can get all the schools into the game that way.
    1. SmoothPancakes's Avatar
      SmoothPancakes -
      So, positive outlook for the NCAA Football series based on these results then?

      Posted With Tapatalkbecause I'm a lazy ass
    1. souljahbill's Avatar
      souljahbill -
      I just want ALL the teams, conferences, stadiums, mascots, etc. I don't care if the players are real or not. I DO NOT want Power 5 football and I don't care how perfect the gameplay is or how pretty the graphics are, I will not, under any non-lethal circumstances, purchase a Power 5 football game.
    1. cdj's Avatar
      cdj -
      Seems like train of thought is that if NCAA goes with this ruling (they likely hate to lose, but ruling is basically same thing as they were going to let happen with autonomy), EA and other potential licensees could go ahead. I haven't seen much discussion on whom they would be negotiating with, but I think in regards to CFB, it would be conferences and/or schools (CLC) - basically the same as before. (They only dealt with NCAA for the name and for rights to NCAA Tournament in March Madness/NCAA Basketball. CFB is basically run by conferences.)

      IMHO EA is not in a position to even think about college basketball gaming, so once the dust is settled, I would venture to guess 2K looks at reviving College Hoops. Granted, college bball games didn't sell all that well, but someone (EA or 2K) is going to give it a try for a few years, provided they can afford the license just to see if having actual players provides a windfall. With NBA 2K surging in popularity the last few years, they could build a great transitional feature between games - importing of players with no issues, storylines around actual players, etc. They might view that as a way to completely lockdown the bball market before EA and Live can get a chance.

      I've heard that the Kessler lawsuit would need to be settled first (with out of court settlement or verdict) before EA would proceed. Unsure if true, but it only makes sense they would want all lawsuits wrapped up and NCAA/conferences with defined methodology for acquiring player likenesses and conference rights.

      Armchair lawyers think the Kessler lawsuit could be the death knell for the NCAA, but some of these same brain-trusts thought the lawsuit vs. EA would cost them a billion dollars and that the O'Bannon suit would destroy the NCAA. Neither came close to happening, so take the legal fear-mongering with a grain of salt.
    1. CLW's Avatar
      CLW -
      Quote Originally Posted by SmoothPancakes View Post
      So, positive outlook for the NCAA Football series based on these results then?

      Posted With Tapatalkbecause I'm a lazy ass
      Yes/no. NCAA can appeal and drag the thing out for years and in my opinion ultimately prevail at the SCOTUS.

      Quote Originally Posted by cdj View Post
      Seems like train of thought is that if NCAA goes with this ruling (they likely hate to lose, but ruling is basically same thing as they were going to let happen with autonomy), EA and other potential licensees could go ahead. I haven't seen much discussion on whom they would be negotiating with, but I think in regards to CFB, it would be conferences and/or schools (CLC) - basically the same as before. (They only dealt with NCAA for the name and for rights to NCAA Tournament in March Madness/NCAA Basketball. CFB is basically run by conferences.)

      IMHO EA is not in a position to even think about college basketball gaming, so once the dust is settled, I would venture to guess 2K looks at reviving College Hoops. Granted, college bball games didn't sell all that well, but someone (EA or 2K) is going to give it a try for a few years, provided they can afford the license just to see if having actual players provides a windfall. With NBA 2K surging in popularity the last few years, they could build a great transitional feature between games - importing of players with no issues, storylines around actual players, etc. They might view that as a way to completely lockdown the bball market before EA and Live can get a chance.

      I've heard that the Kessler lawsuit would need to be settled first (with out of court settlement or verdict) before EA would proceed. Unsure if true, but it only makes sense they would want all lawsuits wrapped up and NCAA/conferences with defined methodology for acquiring player likenesses and conference rights.

      Armchair lawyers think the Kessler lawsuit could be the death knell for the NCAA, but some of these same brain-trusts thought the lawsuit vs. EA would cost them a billion dollars and that the O'Bannon suit would destroy the NCAA. Neither came close to happening, so take the legal fear-mongering with a grain of salt.

      NOONE is going to make a game unless/until the lawsuits have stopped being filed for years. Businesses HATE uncertainty and you do not get much more uncertain right now than the rules/regs re: making a college sports video game.
    1. coogrfan's Avatar
      coogrfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by souljahbill View Post
      I just want ALL the teams, conferences, stadiums, mascots, etc. I don't care if the players are real or not. I DO NOT want Power 5 football and I don't care how perfect the gameplay is or how pretty the graphics are, I will not, under any non-lethal circumstances, purchase a Power 5 football game.
      +1
    1. cdj's Avatar
      cdj -
      No surprise: The NCAA plans to appeal the ruling.
    1. JBHuskers's Avatar
      JBHuskers -
      Appeal "part" of the ruling. So hopefully that shit will move along a little faster.

      Posted With Tapatalk
    1. CLW's Avatar
      CLW -
      Quote Originally Posted by JBHuskers View Post
      Appeal "part" of the ruling. So hopefully that shit will move along a little faster.

      Posted With Tapatalk
      The Plaintiffs will likely also appeal the $5K "cap" on the compensation. Moreover, simply appealing "part" of a ruling doesn't make it go any faster. It's the appellate court dockets, briefs, oral argument, time for judges' clerks to research/write opinion. That takes so.... long. This one is going all the way up to SCOTUS.

      Which will take at least 2-4 years before a final ruling. Then if it gets remanded you can litigate another 3-5 years after that. NCAA Football 2024 countdown thread should go ahead and get started.
    1. souljahbill's Avatar
      souljahbill -
      NSFW: Language
      Check out Last Week Tonight's commentary on the NCAA
      http://youtu.be/pX8BXH3SJn0
      The whole thing is worth watching but there's a special treat at the 18:33 mark.
    1. steelerfan's Avatar
      steelerfan -


      #TheScriptIsDead
    1. cdj's Avatar
      cdj -
    1. cdj's Avatar
      cdj -
      A federal magistrate judge late Monday ordered the NCAA to pay nearly $46 million to Ed O'Bannon's lawyers in attorney fees and legal costs for their court victory. The NCAA had been seeking the costs to be heavily reduced to approximately $8.5 million.

      US Magistrate Judge Nathanel Cousins awarded the O'Bannon lawyers $44.4 million in attorney fees, a reduction of almost $1.2 million from what they requested. The NCAA was also ordered to pay $1.5 million in costs and expenses, down $3.7 million from what the plaintiffs sought. At one time, O'Bannon's lawyers -- led by Michael Hausfeld -- had been asking for $50.9 million.


      Courtesy: CBS Sports
    1. JeffHCross's Avatar
      JeffHCross -
      I will never understand lawyer's fees. I mean, I work in an industry with tons of overhead, bloated spending, and ridiculous contracts ... so I'm sure the numbers don't add up for us either. But lawyers fees just seem ... even more out of whack.