NCAA asks to dismiss Ed O’Bannon lawsuit
by Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports
The NCAA on Tuesday asked a federal judge to dismiss an anti-trust lawsuit pertaining to the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses.
The request had been expected in the wake of U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken’s ruling last week that the NCAA and its co-defendants in the case – video game manufacturer Electronic Arts and the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing firm, Collegiate Licensing Co. – could file dismissal motions. EA made its bid for dismissal last week.
Because Wilken had instructed the NCAA not repeat arguments it has made in other filings, Tuesday’s motion was little more than a brief re-statement of the allegations against the NCAA and a lengthy table summarizing its past responses.
The named plaintiffs in the case are a group of former college football and men’s basketball players led by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, plus a group of current athletes who were added to the case earlier this summer.
They are seeking to have the case certified as a class action, a request that Wilken is still considering. If the case becomes a class action, it could allow thousands of former and current football and men’s basketball players to join the case and greatly increase the amount of money at stake.
The NCAA maintains it does not restrict college athletes from licensing their names and likenesses after they have left school, and that it never allowed EA to use athletes’ names and likenesses in video games. It also contends that the law does not grant name-and-likeness rights to participants in broadcasts of sporting events and that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the NCAA’s rules preventing athletes from being paid for playing college sports.