NCAA Seeks Delay in Antitrust Class Cert Hearing

Ed O'Bannon's Sports Illustrated Cover 1995
Ed O’Bannon’s Sports Illustrated Cover 1995

The NCAA has asked  a federal judge to delay, potentially for weeks, a hearing on class certification of former college basketball and football players suing the NCAA for use of players’ names and likenesses without compensation.

Papers filed Tuesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association request that either the judge exclude the lengthy expert opinion reports filed late in the proceedings or delay the June 20 hearing to give the NCAA time to review the reports.

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and other players filed claims against the NCAA that it engaged in antitrust violations by marketing the images and names of players long after they leave college, but without compensation.

The lawsuit seeks damages from the NCAA and video game-maker Electronic Arts, which produces the popular Madden Football game series.

Joining O’Bannon in the lawsuit were Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson.  The hearing in June before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken was to determine whether the former players’ claims should be joined in a single class action lawsuit applying to all affected former players.

The players contend they were required to sign away the rights to their images and names in perpetuity in order to play college sports.

The NCAA then used those rights to negotiate lucrative TV contracts, rebroadcast rights for games and the sale of clothing and games linked to particular players.

Case: O’Bannon v. NCAA, No. C09-1967CW