Judge green-lights O'Bannon suit

Ed O'Bannon's class-action antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA will go to trial barring a settlement, a federal judge ruled Thursday in Oakland, Calif.

The decision is a major victory for O'Bannon, the former UCLA basketball player challenging the collegiate athletic association's ban on compensating athletes.

The NCAA had asked U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in December to dismiss the suit, saying it did now show the association's rules violate antitrust laws and that athletes' demand for revenue from the licensing of live broadcasts is pre-empted by the First Amendment right to televise newsworthy events.

But Wilken, after questioning both sides during a two-hour proceeding Thursday, ruled that "the whole case is not going away on summary judgment."

The trial remains scheduled to begin June 9.

"It was not a good day for the NCAA and it was a very significant day for us," Michael Hausfeld, the O'Bannon plaintiffs' lead attorney, said in a phone interview with al.com on Thursday night. "She questioned the whole concept of amateurism from automatic immunity for everything they do. She questioned whether competitive balance and the integration of athletics and academics are procompetitive justifications."

The suit originally named video-game maker Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company, but the plaintiffs and those companies reached settlements in September.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Bruce Jenner is shown here at age 10 in this undated childhood family photo.
Courtesy Linda Thompson
PHOTO: Bruce Jenner celebrates after winning 1500M race during Decathlon at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada, July 17, 1976.
Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
PHOTO: A female coyote lay in an animal carrier after being captured by Special Operations officers on Manhattan?s west side, Saturday, April 25, 2015, in New York.
New York City Police Department Special Operations Division via AP