NCAA Appeals O’Bannon Injunction

      OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – The NCAA on Wednesday appealed a federal judge’s injunction in the O’Bannon case, prohibiting the governing body for college athletics from enforcing rules against student-athletes being paid for the use of their names, images and likenesses.
     The appeal to the 9th Circuit, filed late Wednesday, was expected after the NCAA announced its intention to appeal after Wilken’s ruling was released on Aug. 8.
     “As previously stated, we will appeal the court’s decision because we do not believe the NCAA has violated any antitrust laws,” NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy said in a statement Wednesday. He said the NCAA continues “to evolve our rules and processes to better serve student-athletes.”
     In the injunction, Chief U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken found that the NCAA’s rules on paying student-athletes “unreasonably restrain trade in the market for educational athletic opportunities for Division I colleges and universities.”
     Led by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, 20 student athletes sued the NCAA in a 2009 class action for the right to a share in the television broadcast revenue for their names, images and likenesses. A two-week bench trial was held in June.
     Wilken’s 99-page ruling slammed the NCAA’s primary justifications for not paying college athletes: amateurism, competitive balance and the integration of athletics and academics.
     “The historical record that the NCAA cites as evidence of its longstanding commitment to amateurism is unpersuasive,” Wilken wrote. “This record reveals that the NCAA has revised its rules governing student-athlete compensation numerous times over the years, sometimes in significant and contradictory ways. Rather than evincing the association’s adherence to a set of core principles, this history documents how malleable the NCAA’s definition of amateurism has been since its founding.”
     Her injunction blocks the NCAA “from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their FBS [Football Bowl Subdivision] 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.” She ordered it to take effect on Aug. 1, 2015.
     The NCAA is represented by Glenn Pomerantz, with Munger, Tolles & Olson, of San Francisco.

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