The trial of the Ed O’Bannon antitrust lawsuit vs. the NCAA concluded Friday after 15 days of testimony.
O’Bannon and others are asking for a ruling that would give basketball and football players the right to seek a share of revenues from their sports for use of their names, images and likenesses (NILs) in broadcasts and videogames. A broad outline of a plan sketched by the plaintiffs would give players equal shares for each year they play, with the money paid only after an athlete leaves college.
O’Bannon, the former UCLA star basketball player who heads the lawsuit on behalf of current and former Division I student-athletes in men’s basketball and football, told the Los Angeles Times that, "these are huge steps, for the athlete, for the student, for all of us."
NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy was confident as he left the court.
"The plaintiffs have still not been able to articulate an antitrust theory," Remy told the Times. "It’s a challenge because it isn’t there. . . . I feel comfortable and confident that the NCAA has put forth a case that sustains the benefits of a collegiate model – today, yesterday and tomorrow."
NCAA President Mark Emmert testified during the trial, aruging that amateurism is the core of college athletics, saying any effort to pay players would destroy a framework that has been in place for more than a century and cause many schools to either abandon sports or refuse to play other schools that do pay.
"They want to know everyone is playing by the same rules," he said. "They want to know the other teams consist of student athletes just like them."
Judge Claudia Wilken has called for both sides to file closing briefings by July 10 and is hoping to have a ruling by mid-August.