Oakland Calif. (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on
Friday examined potential remedies to resolve the case between athletes
and the National Collegiate Athletic Association that seeks to reshape
traditional notions of amateur sports in the United States.
In a closely watched trial that ended on Friday after unfolding in
an Oakland, California, courthouse over the past three weeks, U.S.
District Judge Claudia Wilken weighed a few possible outcomes, such
as the NCAA keeping a deferred trust fund and paying athletes upon
graduating or upon establishing eligibility to take money before
"Should we have a cap, like a salary cap (for players), or a luxury
tax?" Wilken asked lawyers representing both parties.
Before closing arguments began Friday afternoon, she told the court
that her "devilís advocate positions" and questions would not be
indicative of what she decides in her final ruling.
The athletes' lawsuit, filed in 2009, takes on the highly lucrative
business of college athletics, where universities reap billions of
dollars from men's football and basketball, but players are not
allowed to profit. The NCAA argues that it promotes amateur
athleticism and that the revenue from big money sports supports a
wide range of college athletics and benefits for players.
Moreover, the NCAA maintains that paying players will make college
sports less competitive because teams that pay more will attract the
More than 20 current and former athletes allege that the NCAA
violated federal antitrust law by refusing to allow athletes to
commercialize their own names, images and likenesses.
Student-athletes are increasingly trying to claim more of those
revenues and demanding to be treated more like employees. In April,
football players at Northwestern University became the first U.S.
student athletes to vote on whether to unionize.
On Friday, lawyers for the athletes filed a detailed proposal on
relief they were seeking in court. Wilken asked both parties to
offer opinions about some possible scenarios, if she were to grant
an injunction sought by the athletes.
The athletes also had originally sued videogame maker EA, which
settled out of court. The athletes are seeking a court order to
force the NCAA to change its business model, not monetary damages.
Wilken could issue a ruling at any time.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is
In Re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation,
(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Ken Wills)