NCAA Will Appeal Historic Anti-Trust Lawsuit Defeat

Source: AP via ESPN

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA has notified the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that it intends to appeal a judge’s ruling in the Ed O’Bannon case that it violated antitrust laws.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled Aug. 8 that the NCAA broke the law by restricting schools from providing money beyond current scholarship limits to athletes. She said schools should be allowed to place up to $5,000 per athlete per year of competition into a trust fund for football players and men’s basketball players, which they could collect after leaving school.

A formal appeal has not yet been submitted, but NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy issued a statement Thursday.

“We are appealing the Court’s decision because we do not believe the NCAA has violated the antitrust laws,” he said. “In its decision, the Court acknowledged that changes to the rules that govern college athletics would be better achieved outside the courtroom, and the NCAA continues to believe that the association and its members are best positioned to evolve its rules and processes to better serve student-athletes.”

Remy also noted that the NCAA has been discussing ways to improve the “student-athlete experience” even before the lawsuit was filed, and through the recent decision to give the five richest football conferences more power over the rule-making process.

What’s unclear is how the NCAA’s legal team will attack Wilken’s ruling in a court that has traditionally been more favorable to labor, or in this case the athletes. A recent study from the University of Illinois shows the NCAA wins about 71 percent in the second and third rounds in court, and some believe this case could be headed the U.S. Supreme Court. Remy has promised to take it there, if necessary.

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