A federal judge ruled Friday that the NCAA’s restrictions on compensation for major college football and men’s basketball players violate antitrust laws.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued in a 99-page decision that sided with former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and a group of plaintiffs.
Wilken issued an injunction that will stop the NCAA the “from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their FBS football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images, and likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid.”
The decision in a case that took five years to reach a conclusion allows for trust funds to be set up for athletes to receive licensing revenue. It also keeps the NCAA from putting limits on the amount of money that college athletes can be paid while in school and “enforcing any rules to prevent its member schools and conferences from offering to deposit a limited share of licensing revenue in trust for their FBS football and Division I basketball recruits, payable when they leave school or their eligibility expires.”
The ruling will be effective at the start of the next football and basketball recruiting cycles.
The decision also allows the plaintiffs to recoup their legal costs from the NCAA.
“Nothing in this injunction will preclude the NCAA from continuing to enforce all of its other existing rules which are designed to achieve legitimate pro competitive goals,” Wilken wrote.
“It is likely that the challenged restraints, as well as other perceived inequities in college athletics and higher education generally, could be better addressed as a remedy for the antitrust violations found here. Such reforms and remedies could be undertaken by the NCAA, its member schools and conferences, or Congress.”
On Thursday, the NCAA Board of Directors voted to allow five power conferences and their 65 member schools the freedom to establish their own rules.
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