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NCAA files motions that could delay O'Bannon trial

Ed O'Bannon Leads Charge Against NCAA for Student Athlete Compensation

By The Associated Press

The NCAA has filed a flurry of motions in federal courts, seeking rulings that could delay the start of the landmark antitrust lawsuit brought by former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon and others.

The latest filings target both the judge assigned to the case and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on issues that are at the center of the trial, now scheduled to begin June 9 in federal court in Oakland, Calif. Among them is a request for U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken to reconsider an earlier ruling that the NCAA cannot use the defense that money from big revenue sports like football and basketball is used to fund smaller sports and women's sports.

Other filings ask for the 9th Circuit to give the NCAA permission to appeal the class action certification decision earlier by Wilken, and for any litigation over the video game portion of the case to be either severed or for the trial to be postponed until a reputed $40 million settlement reached last year between the plaintiffs and EA Sports and others is finalized.

Lawyers for the NCAA also argued that they should be allowed to appeal an earlier ruling by Wilken dealing with First Amendment broadcast rights to the 9th Circuit before there is any trial.

"The issue is extremely important; the court's ruling, if upheld, could fundamentally alter the nature of amateur athletics and raises First Amendment issues of enormous consequence," NCAA lawyers wrote in filings this week.

The lead attorney for O'Bannon called the filings a last gasp attempt to derail a lawsuit filed in 2009 over whether athletes have the rights to market themselves and their own images instead of the NCAA.

"They are significant in the fact they express a great deal of desperation and lack of conviction in their position," said attorney Michael Hausfeld. "No one files this many briefs in both district court and the court of appeals on this variety of issues unless you feel you have a particular vulnerability."

There was no immediate indication from Wilken when she would rule on the filings.

O'Bannon sued the NCAA after seeing himself portrayed in a video game as a member of the 1995 UCLA national team. He and his attorneys argued that the NCAA both used and profited by his image without his consent and without him being compensated for it.

Plaintiffs say they not only want monetary damages for the former athletes, but an injunction that would force the NCAA to either drop or alter many of its rules to allow such things as additional compensation for athletes, the right for immediate transfers, and scholarships that continue until an athlete has graduated.

Some of those issues are now being debated by the five major conferences in the NCAA, with some rule changes likely by the end of summer.

Wilken in April ordered the two sides to try and reach a settlement, but Hausfeld said there was no progress in talks and no further talks scheduled.

"There's a better chance of finding people lost in the Bermuda triangle than settling before trial," he said.

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dltanner7 May 01 2014 at 11:58 AM

According to an article in Time last year of the 227 schools in Division I sports, only 22 are self supporting. The other 204 are funded by student fees and tuitions. So any compensation would be coming from teacher salaries, campus upkeeps, security etc.
In my mind completely unfair to those students who are actually there to get an education and not there as a stepping stone to enter proffesional sports.

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2 replies
gotigersthomas dltanner7 May 01 2014 at 12:12 PM

I agree the non athletic studenets are getting screwed. I wish I knew the 22 that would sel supporting.

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dglswhite dltanner7 May 01 2014 at 2:01 PM

ROFL. Those statistics include ALL athletics, including women's programs, less popular sports like golf, tennis and Lacrosse, even bowling! The men's football and basketball programs are ALL profitable, anyone claiming otherwise is an outright liar. TV rights alone pay for more than 75% of costs, and those costs include HUGE salaries of ADs, coaches, etc.

PLUS the existence of the other, less profitable sports programs are incentives to many kids to come to these colleges over less expensive smaller state schools. PLUS successful sports programs have been shown to increase alumni donations.

I am stunned that people are so ignorant that they would make such absurd proclamations.

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ghhs58 May 01 2014 at 9:27 AM

"Show me the money" when all is said and done. That is what this is all about.

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silkroadg May 01 2014 at 12:21 PM

Profoundly ironic and a perfect example of the RACISM in the US media and court system. O'Bannon is black and gets to file and win lawsuits to protect his "image" but Sterling being white, doesn't even get a FREAKING TRIAL and HIS 1st AMEMDMENT RIGHTS are flushed down the toilet! Doesn't ANYONE see the PRO-BLACK RACISM in these two cases?????

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4 replies
Charlie May 01 2014 at 8:31 AM

Sounds like it is time for all schools to end paid scholarships for athletes to play sports. If they want to play it will be for free and they pay for the right for the education.

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2 replies
Frank Charlie May 01 2014 at 9:12 AM

Why? If they want the sport, it is rime for them to pay. The education, if you can call what the athletes get education, is not the real goal of either the school or the student. It is nothing more then a benifit offered to any contracted job.

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fncguy Charlie May 01 2014 at 9:57 AM

Absolutely! Extra curricular activities should be extraneous. Education's divorce from a destructive sports industry is long overdue. Sports have proven themselves a distraction from education and a farm system for spoiled, lazy children, with big egos and no brains. Take one sport only, limit the time to ten hours per week. Stop staring at a mirror. Dump childish addictions to infantile social nutworks. Grow up. "Think of education not as something you get, but as something you take!" ...oh sorry, wrong **** tree, that's a commercial for superior peoples like those in Canada, Japan, China, and the Upper Amazon's indigenous tribes. In DuhUSa it's, "supersize me."

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volcraze May 01 2014 at 8:10 AM

I love college sports. I am basically a college sports junkie. But if schools begin paying these students, then I will boycott any NCAA event!

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2 replies
justhc10 volcraze May 01 2014 at 9:15 AM

You will not be missed. Division one college basketball is watched by millions around the world. This game is an international sport. Many other cultures don't share the same views as our capitalist society. It's a shame big business seeks to so aggressively take advantage of these kids in an effort to increase profits. Using and selling their images without consent is absurd.

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Frank volcraze May 01 2014 at 9:19 AM


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bullmesht May 01 2014 at 7:52 AM

They are getting paid. They're getting an education for free. They knew the situation before they even signed on to play. Now they want their cake and eat it too. I say pay them then deduct the education room and board and books from their paychecks.

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1 reply
justhc10 bullmesht May 01 2014 at 9:30 AM

You will find that the money these kids would make from the TV royalties alone would make books and tuition seem like peanuts. The NCAA and these colleges have been making a killing of these kids for manny decades. Thus, overlooking their basic First Amendment rights under the law. It's a total abuse of authority. If you compare even the most expensive education over a four year stay in college to the money the schools are making on these televised games you would notice a gross disparity in compensation. This begs the question of being a non profit organization. These schools play both sides with the tax advantages of a non profit and also the free market system.

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dredselw May 01 2014 at 7:51 AM

Players should be allowed more access to financial help, but not with a union! They are being provided a very valuable education and a chance to be recognized by the world of fans who have connections to help them in their careers. Then you have a few who will sign million dollar contracts sometimes before even graduating. When you have a union you have another boss to answer to.

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Jay May 01 2014 at 9:43 AM

If you want to solve this problem then just get rid of the sport of basketball.

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buglebob May 01 2014 at 7:33 AM

Yep - begore this is over thesxe greedy idiots seeking unions - pay and other comp will ruin one of the greatest things for a vast majority of young athletes. The chance to get a quality education doing what they love to do for 4 years while enjoying every min of it.

I didn't have much $ while going to college and had to borrow to finish. I still enjoyed it all and never starved or was left wanting. All avg college kids have very little $.

There is no common sense right now.

Athletes in college are amatuers and the money, if any is made, belongs to the colleges . They are being paid enough with their free education. If they don't like that they can go try to play for pay elsewhere.

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gotigersthomas May 01 2014 at 12:18 PM

I support my favourite colleges and I have not probably with the money football and basketball being spread out with all the sports. But the football and backetball players that whine they are getting paid is priceless. They are given free eduation which benifits school and student athletes. Not all basketball and football player makes pros but least I get quality education if they choose to work for it.

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