A federal judge ruled against the NCAA on Friday, opening the door for college athletes to share in licensing revenue.
The ruling by U.S. District judge Claudia Wilken in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit allows for trust funds to be established for college football and basketball players, who can cash in, after their eligibility expires, on a portion of the proceeds generated by the use of their images and likeness. O’Bannon, a former UCLA basketball star, filed the suit five years ago after discovering his image was being used in an EA Sports video.
In a 99-page ruling, Wilken issued an injunction that 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.”
Wilken said the injunction will not prevent the NCAA from implementing rules capping the amount of revenue that can be paid to athletes, but the NCAA won’t be allowed to set the cap below their cost of attendance.
The ruling comes one day after the NCAA voted to grant autonomy to the power five conferences — Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 — plus Notre Dame. They will have the ability to pass legislation that impact only their conferences, including rules that can increase benefits to athletes, such as full cost of attendance.