Another domino in the longest-ever episode of Law and Order has fallen. A federal judge denied the NCAA's motion to dismiss the antitrust suit brought on in the Ed O'Bannon case regarding the use of student-athletes' names and likenesses, per USA Today's Steve Berkowitz. This comes on the heels of EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company withdrawing from the case and settling with the players.
If the settlement holds up, the NCAA would be the lone remaining defendant in the suit. Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the defendant's claims do not "preclude Plaintiffs from asserting publicity rights in the specific types of broadcasts at issue here."
From USA Today:
Wilken said that a 1984 Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA has relied upon to preserve its amateurism system "does not stand for the sweeping proposition that student-athletes must be barred, both during their college years and forever thereafter, from receiving any monetary compensation for the commercial use of their names, images, and likenesses. Although it is possible that the NCAA's ban on student-athlete pay serves some procompetitive purpose, such as increasing consumer demand for college sports, Plaintiffs' plausible allegations to the contrary must be accepted as true at the pleading stage."
The motion's dismissal was not unexpected, as the legal process continues to unfold. The NCAA has maintained that it will fight this case to the end, which could produce years of litigation and appeals if/when the parties get to the courtroom. EA Sports has already announced it will not be making a college football game in 2014.