The steady drip, drip, drip of the O’Bannon suit

The NCAA loses another procedural motion.

The ruling doesn’t grant the ex-players certification in their suit against the NCAA, Collegiate Licensing Company and EA Sports over the commercialized use of athletes’ image, name and likeness.

But the decision staves off the NCAA’s attempt to end the case now after filing a 33-page motion last October to strike the certification motion. A certification hearing has been set for June 20.

I’m not sure the ruling is quite as big a deal as plaintiff’s counsel makes it out to be, but it’s rather more than the NCAA’s legal ace says it is.

“Although our motion to strike was denied, the Judge has signaled skepticism on plaintiff’s class certification motion and recognized the plaintiffs’ radical change in their theory of the case,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “This is a step in the right direction toward allowing the NCAA to further demonstrate why this case is wrong on the law and that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that this case satisfies the criteria for class litigation.”

Sorry, sport, but when you’ve filed a motion to kick a case to the curb, being told by the judge that, instead, you have to make your case on the merits isn’t “a step in the right direction”.  It’s a loss.  It’s not the only one the NCAA has suffered in this matter, either.  None of them are decisive, but taken collectively, there’s a trend afoot.

And that’s what should make the NCAA more than a little nervous at this point.  From where I’m sitting, it looks like you’ve got a judge who wishes the parties would get their collective heads out of their asses and reach some sort of settlement.  Unfortunately, she may be underestimating Mark Emmert’s tone deafness.  It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.

If this suit actually sees the inside of a courtroom, I have little doubt the plaintiffs – whomever they wind up being – will win.  And that will be the cherry on top of the sundae that is Emmert’s presidency.  Burn down the plantation, for the win!


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

6 responses to “The steady drip, drip, drip of the O’Bannon suit

  1. Since I’m not lawyery, I have three questions: Who must pay if the plaintiffs do win? What if the member universities (or at least the major conference schools) of the NCAA secede from the association and form their own organization to oversee their athletic teams? Would the University of Georgia be on the hook for a portion of the result as an ex-member of a hypothetically dissolved NCAA?


    • Darrron Rovelll

      Not a lawyer either but I would guess that everyone that is/has received revenue (not profit) from the use of the images will have to pay a portion of the damages. So it would be EA, CLC, the NCAA and its member institutions etc.

      I would doubt secession would help the universities get out of past royalties and they would have to work out different agreements with the athletes for future use. I would think secession would complicate matters even further if it were the D-1 schools leaving since it is those athletes images in question.

      If it looks like the case is going to go really bad and a judgement against them will bankrupt the organization and complicate things like tv and sponsor contracts, I could see a scenario where the NCAA cuts and runs on the business partners, negotiates a settlement and then dissolves itself.

      The member institutions reform as 2 or 3 separate entities based on the institutional level of commitment for athletics so all current D-1 schools reform as a group that pays salaries to athletes and D-3 schools compete amateurs with minimal promotional activity etc.


  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    This judge probably leads the conference in pretrial motions reversed on appeal, so she’s gun shy. She wants this case to go all the way to verdict; this one is sure to see lots of appeals.


  3. 69Dawg

    I think I read where somewhere in her ruling she said the players could include current telecast money’s in their suit. They were only seeking reply money originally. This would screw the kitty to know end.


  4. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Title IX on one side, O’Bannon suit on the other. The courts are going to put a serious squeeze on college athletics as we know it.


  5. Chadwick

    Boy, legal ace and NCAA sure don’t go together. I introduce to you Mark Emmert, Lord of the Idiots. I’d love to see this go tomthe courtroom only to see the NCAA shoot itself in the head.