U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, denied
a request the NCAA made last year to decide the case in its favor
before trial. The NCAA argued that the current system is justified
because amateur status makes college athletics more popular and
More than 20 current and former athletes sued, saying that players
should share in the profits of college athletics, a highly lucrative
business in which universities reap billions of dollars from men's
football and basketball. The athletes say they should be compensated
for the money they help earn from sources such as video game
licensing and television revenue.
NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy said on Friday the NCAA has
confidence in the legal merits of its case and looks forward to
trial, which is scheduled to begin in June.
"The model we have today enables nearly half a million
student-athletes at over a thousand schools to compete on the
playing field while getting a college degree," Remy said in an
The players allege that the NCAA violated federal antitrust law by
conspiring with videogame maker Electronic Arts Inc and the NCAA's
licensing arm to restrain competition in the market for the
commercial use of the players' names, images, and likenesses.
The athletes also had originally sued EA, which settled.
[to top of second column]
Fox Broadcasting Co, a unit of News Corp, filed court papers
supporting the NCAA's request to head off the trial.
In an order on Friday, Wilken cited evidence from the athletes that
the NCAA has changed its definition of amateurism several times
without hurting consumer demand for its product. Thus the NCAA must
prove the case at trial, she wrote.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is
In Re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation,
(Reporting by Dan Levine; editing by David Gregorio and Ken Wills)
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