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Double trouble for NCAA? O’Bannon lawsuit split in two

Sam Keller Passes Getty Images

The NCAA tried all it could to avoid a potentially damaging trial, but the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit will officially go to trial on June 9. The starting date was previously scheduled but is now set in stone after U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken denied a motion by the NCAA. Now the NCAA will have another trial to prepare for in 2015 after the judge split the O’Bannon lawsuit into two separate cases.

As reported by USA Today, Wilken formally separated the anti-trust case led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon from another case focusing on college sports video games led by former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller. The two cases were lumped together as the O’Bannon lawsuit gained traction among former players, but now the NCAA will likely have more legal battles ahead of it. The Keller lawsuit is now set to go to trial in March 2015. The focus of the O’Bannon lawsuit will still be on the use of player likenesses and names in other forms for promotion, advertising and more.

While the case will now be split into two different categories, Wilken did not approve a request by the NCAA to have all evidence related to video games to be used in the first trial, the O’Bannon trial. That could turn out to be a major advantage for the plaintiffs in the O’Bannon lawsuit, as the revenue generated from the NCAA-licensed video games (primarily the NCAA Football video game franchise produced by Electronic Arts) is nothing to omit. EA Sports canceled the production for a version of its popular NCAA Football franchise this year, even after initially losing the NCAA licence from the college equivalent to the Madden NFL franchise.

In the end, the results of the O’Bannon lawsuit could set the tone for the Keller lawsuit in March. If the NCAA takes a loss in the O’Bannon lawsuit, the desire to settle out of court before heading to trial again in March may rise. If the NCAA wins the O’Bannon lawsuit, then the likelihood it shies away from the Keller lawsuit will dwindle as well.

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4 Responses to “Double trouble for NCAA? O’Bannon lawsuit split in two”
  1. dhardy8207 says: May 23, 2014 4:58 PM

    Ok so now they have a two headed monster to deal with. Better hope they saved some of those millions they made off the video games cause they’ll pay out that and then some if they lose the O’Bannon case….

  2. smokybandit says: May 23, 2014 7:58 PM

    That’s now at least four major lawsuits they’ll have going at the same time. Then through in a half dozen other minor ones. Mark Emmert what a wonderful job you’ve done.

  3. icallbs81 says: May 23, 2014 10:02 PM

    If the plaintiffs had anything resembling a successful professional career in basketball or football there would be no lawsuit.

  4. sportsguy3434 says: May 23, 2014 10:09 PM

    I’m sure the equally divided settlement for all sports will come out to $1.53.

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