O’Bannon filing has highly charged allegations
by Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports
In addition to adding active players to a lawsuit against the NCAA and two co-defendants concerning the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case amended their complaint by adding a series of new highly charged allegations.
They mention specific alleged actions not only the NCAA, but also by each of the other defendants, video game manufacturer Electronic Arts and the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm, Collegiate Licensing Co (CLC). Even comments of former NCAA president, the late Myles Brand, were spotlighted.
Some of the new allegations were included because in a ruling July 5 that allowed the addition of the new plaintiffs and the amended complaint, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken expressly let the plaintiffs’ lawyers address some of the arguments that had made by the NCAA, EA and CLC.
But the new material is likely to further escalate what has become an increasingly contentious fight – a development that Wilken may not have anticipated when she also wrote July 5 that the defendants “need not file new answers to the amended pleading unless they would like to respond to specific new allegations made by” the plaintiffs.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said Thursday night the association “will reserve comment until we have had time to read the amended complaint.”
And there was plenty to read, including allegations that:
– Brand in “public remarks” in 2008, “conceded” that “(t)he right to license or sell one’s name, image, and likeness is a property right with economic value.”
This addresses an argument by the NCAA during a June hearing on whether the case should be certified as a class action that various state laws and legal precedents say that athletes have no property rights for appearing in live, unscripted events – and thus have nothing that the NCAA or the schools are infringing upon when it comes to game telecasts and re-broadcasts.
– EA and CLC allegedly “actively lobbied for, and obtained, administrative interpretations of those rules that permitted greater uncompensated exploitation of student-athletes’ names, images, and likenesses. Where their formal efforts were unsuccessful, EA and CLC obtained agreement from the … [For more on Amended O'Bannon filing has highly charged allegations, click here.]