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NCAA Student-Athlete Compensation - O’Bannon v. NCAA

Related Lawyers: Michael D. Hausfeld, Swathi Bojedla, Bruce J. Wecker, Hilary K. Scherrer, Michael P. Lehmann, Sathya S. Gosselin
Related Practice Areas: Sports and Entertainment, Antitrust / Competition

O’Bannon v. NCAA - No. 09-3329 (N.D. Cal.) – Trial and appellate victory ending the NCAA’s agreement to deny student-athletes compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. Settlement reached with defendant Electronic Arts, Inc.

UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and thousands of former Division I men’s basketball and football players alleged that the NCAA, its members, and its commercial partners violated federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former players from receiving any compensation related to the use of their names, images, and likenesses in television broadcasts, rebroadcasts, and videogames. 

In September 2013, the plaintiffs announced a $40 million settlement agreement with defendant Electronic Arts, Inc. Two months later, Chief District Judge Claudia Wilken certified an injunctive class of current and former men’s Division I football and basketball players whose names, images, and likenesses have been, or may have been, included in game footage or in videogames. 

At the conclusion of a three-week bench trial in June 2014, the Court determined that the NCAA had violated the antitrust laws and issued a permanent injunction. Law360 dubbed the Hausfeld-led trial team “Legal Lions,” citing this historic victory over the NCAA. One year later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the NCAA’s violation of the antitrust laws and upheld significant injunctive relief requiring NCAA member schools to compete for college athletes on the basis of “cost of attendance,” as opposed to just the previous “grant in aid” athletic scholarship---the practical effect of which is that college athletes can now each receive up to $5,000 more every year as part of their scholarship package. 

Hausfeld is proud to have accomplished lasting change and reform in college athletics, amounting to millions of dollars each year that college athletes can now use to fund their education, cover travel and medical expenses, and acquire pre-professional training as they enter the work force.

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