Written by Terrance Johnson, Staff Writer
College athletes have recently been granted the opportunity to be awarded a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images, and likenesses in addition to full grants in aid. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and 19 other players sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association claiming that antitrust laws were being violated.
The court ruled 2-1 that the NCAA was not required to pay athletes royalties for the use of their names and likenesses. The court also found that a complete ban on royalties to athletes for use of their likeness in video games and telecasts violates anti-trust laws.
U.S. district Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the NCAA cannot prevent athletes from selling the rights to their names, images and likenesses. Wilken ruled that at least $5,000 be paid to the players for every year of competition.
“What this court made clear is that the NCAA cannot exercise total economic dominion over the athletes,” said lawyer Michael Hausfield, who represented several college athlete plaintiffs.
The court further noted that a set aside amount of $5,000 per student would essentially eradicate any distinction between them and professional players. Student athletes who are not paid is the hallmark of “what makes them amateurs,” said Judge Jay Bybee. However split their decision appeared, the judges all agreed that the NCAA cannot prevent athletes from getting compensated for their names, images, and likenesses.
Judge Wilken’s decision will produce significant competition among the member schools that will translate into real money for college athletes to put toward the rising educational expenses they face. “Today is a good day for college athletes in all sports, whether men or women, and reform advocates everywhere,” Hausfeld said in a statement.
This new ruling may take place as early as the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.