Solomonic wisdom in the O’Bannon case

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken splits the baby in half.

College athletes are allowed to challenge the NCAA’s current amateurism rules, but cannot seek potentially billions of dollars in damages for appearing in past television broadcasts, a federal judge ruled today.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken partially granted class-action status in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit over the use of college athletes’ names, images and likenesses. The decision could change the concept of amateurism in college sports, but stops short of widespread past damages O’Bannon’s lawyers had sought.

Wilken granted certification for the plaintiffs to pursue an injunction barring the NCAA from prohibiting current and former athletes from entering into group licensing deals for use of their names, images and likenesses in video games and TV broadcasts. However, Wilken denied the bid for a class to seek monetary damages from the NCAA that would have involved lucrative television money.

Both sides claimed victories from the ruling.

This is your basic “gentlemen, get your collective heads out of your asses and settle this thing, because I guarantee one of you isn’t going to be very happy where this winds up if it goes to court” ruling.  Unfortunately, anal-cranial extraction isn’t one of Mark Emmert’s strong suits, so you have to wonder if even at this late date the NCAA is going to snatch the lifeline it’s being thrown by Judge Wilken.  My advice would be not to hold your breath while you’re waiting.

At least Greg McGarity won’t have to lose any sleep over his precious the reserve fund being garnished for past damages.  So there’s that.



Filed under The NCAA

5 responses to “Solomonic wisdom in the O’Bannon case

  1. Well, speaking as an MBA and not as a lawyer – The Partners in charge of net revenues per billable account are going to be alternatively dismayed and overjoyed.

    “A cash cow for outside counsel the NCAA Is” spoke Yoda.
    ‘DEAL ! sayeth the loser.’

    The next hand will be interesting.


  2. Spock

    Illogical ruling. Either you can get damages for past misuse of likenesses or there is no case at all. This judge is so…..human.


  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    The judge may have said that the damages for past use are too variable to certify a class action, but the injunctive relief is appropriate for a class.

    Individual players could possibly sue for damages from past use. I have a couple of ideas along those lines:
    —- Tim Tebow needs a little extra income these days. His likeness was everywhere on EA games.
    —- A.J. Green would be quite justified in suing to extract a pound of flesh back from the NCAA.


  4. A little Lord of the Rings action there Bluto. 😉