ESPN: In dismissing a motion by the NCAA to prevent football and men’s basketball players from legally pursuing a cut of live broadcast revenues, a federal court judge Tuesday raised the stakes for the governing body of college sports as it defends its economic model.
Judge Claudia Wilken issued her ruling Tuesday, rejecting the NCAA’s motion that players in the anti-trust suit led by former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon should be precluded from advancing their lawsuit on procedural grounds.
“Now the (NCAA and its co-defendants) are facing potential liability in the billions of dollars instead of tens or hundreds of millions,” said Michael Hausfeld, interim lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “It’s a more accurate context for what the players deserve.”
Unlike NFL or NBA athletes, players lack a union or similar body to negotiate a share of revenues flowing from media and other licensing contracts. The NCAA does not legally treat athletes as employees, and players have not organized to represent their interests collectively.
The O’Bannon suit attacks that model through the means of class-action, the legal question now before Wilken. Former college stars such as Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson have joined O’Bannon on behalf of all Division I players in football and men’s basketball, asking Wilken to declare that they are similarly situated and to certify the class.
Wilken on Tuesday set the hearing on that motion for June 20, and ordered the NCAA to make its arguments against class certification on the merits rather than procedural objections such as the one she just rejected.
As I’ve written before, these athletes deserve to get paid. They bring in millions and millions of dollars per year in revenue for the school and the NCAA and they get a stipend for “normal expenses” relating to being a student. This ruling is one small step closer to finally making things right with the student athletes. I personally hope the student athlete’s are allowed to be recognized as a “class” and allowed to file a class-action suit against the NCAA.
The NCAA is a terrible, corrupt and mindless organization. They are inconsistent in their punishments (sanctions) handed down to schools. Not enough bad things can happen to the NCAA for my liking. This organization needs to have their ego knocked down a peg or two. I mean, if the players actually earned a fair wage, they wouldn’t have to trade cleats and autographs for tattoos because they would be able to pay for the tattoos on their own.