In 2009 former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit on behalf of former college athletes. The lawsuit is still making its way through the system. The NCAA has players sign a waiver that in essence makes them give up any right to make money off their likenesses as an NCAA athlete. The counterargument is that the student-athletes are already being paid with a sports scholarship that covers their college education. There are billions generated in college TV revenue.
Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has been urging all parties, including the NCAA, to reach a compromise.
The NCAA has refused direct comment on the case because of the ongoing litigation but has issued a statement last week when it submitted its most recent call for a dismissal.
The lead counsel for O’Bannon, Hausfeld LLP, issued the following statement to CNBC.com, “The NCAA’s rules that prohibit payment to student-athletes for the use of their names, images, and likenesses may have served a purpose in another era.
“But in this era of the commercialization of college sports and multi-million dollar broadcast contracts, these rules only serve to exploit the very student-athletes that generate the millions of dollars that pad the pockets of the NCAA.
“There is a growing public recognition that the NCAA’s business practices are unfair and we look forward to proving in a court of law that they must be changed.”
According to reports by CNBC News, Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Co. have this past September, reached an undisclosed settlement with the two firms and is likely to include some compensation to former college players. The argument about paying college athletes has gone on for decades.
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