Ed O'Bannon antitrust case resumes in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

O'Bannon class-action antitrust case resumes Tuesday in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
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A class-action antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon resumes on Tuesday before a three-judge panel in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The NCAA’s lawyers and the plaintiffs in the case are allowed 30 minutes each to make their arguments to the appeals judges.

In August, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the NCAA cannot prevent athletes from selling the rights to their names, images and likenesses. NCAA rules prohibit any student-athletes from receiving money from the selling of their likenesses.

Wilken ruled that the NCAA could cap payments to players at no less than $5,000 for every year of competition. The institutions could put the money in a trust until the athlete graduates or exhausts their playing eligibility. This benefit could be in place by the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.

The ruling came just a day after NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved a new governance structure giving more rule-making autonomy to the five wealthiest conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC).

O'Bannon and 19 others sued the NCAA, claiming the organization violated United States antitrust laws by not allowing athletes to get a share of the revenues generated from the use of their images in broadcasts and video games.

The same judges that will hear arguments on Tuesday are the same ones that ruled against Electronic Arts, a video game company that was sued by former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller.

The judges threw out the notion made by EA that the First Amendment protected its use of player likenesses in the college football video game that it had manufactured for over 20 years.

- Scooby Axson