Two days, two monumental and seismic events for the game of college football, assuring that the sport will never, ever be the same.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled Friday in favor a group of plaintiffs led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon.
In the 99-page ruling, the court issued an injunction which will prevent the NCAA “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.”
As it currently stands, the win for the plaintiffs is about more than the compensation they will receive.
O’Bannon plaintiffs not about receiving damages, about enjoining (stopping) NCAA from imposing limits on what athletes can earn.
— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) August 8, 2014
The attorney who represented the plaintiffs, Bill Isaacson, said the ruling is a “major step towards decency for college athletes.”
“The judge’s decision strikes down NCAA rules restricting their compensation and permits reasonable but significant sharing with athletes — both for the costs of education and to establish trust funds — from the billions in revenues that schools earn from their football and basketball players,” Isaacson continued in the statement.
The ruling also comes on the heels of the NCAA granting autonomy to the Power Five conferences. While the schools now have more power to govern themselves, the players gained plenty of leverage with Wilken’s ruling.
“The court finds that a submarket exists in which television networks seek to acquire group licenses to use FBS football and Division I basketball players’ names, images and likenesses in live game telecasts,” Wilken wrote. “Television networks frequently enter into licensing agreements to use the intellectual property of schools, conferences, and event organizers — such as the NCAA or a bowl committee — in live telecasts of football and basketball games. In these agreements, the network often seeks to acquire the rights to use the names, images and likenesses of the participating student-athletes during the telecast.”
As part of the ruling, the NCAA can still cap the amount of compensation an athlete receives, but it “will not be permitted to set this cap below the cost of attendance, as the term is defined in its current bylaws.” It also prevents the NCAA from making rules that wouldn’t allow a school 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 not affect any recruit enrolled in college prior to July 1, 2016.
“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.