William J. Kishman Comments on College Athletes’ Antitrust Lawsuit Against NCAA
In a recent Business First article, BGD attorney William J. Kishman commented on the potential ramifications of an antitrust lawsuit filed by a class of college athletes against the NCAA.
About the Case
The lawsuit was brought by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon on behalf of a class of current and former college athletes. Their claims focused on contracts their schools required them to sign in order to participate in college athletics. These contracts relinquished the athletes’ rights to compensation for the use of their likeness in merchandise and media. The trial began on Monday, June 9, but some believe the parties may settle.
According to Kishman, if the athletes prevail or the parties settle the case, this could significantly change college sports. Either result could allow college athletes to begin receiving compensation. A settlement also could involve the NCAA significantly relaxing its rules regarding other issues, including health and safety issues. At the same time, this lawsuit could give individual conferences more leverage as they push for greater autonomy from the NCAA. It also could give labor unions more leverage as they push to organize college athletes.
Interestingly, Electronic Arts Sports, an industry leader in video game production, was involved in this lawsuit as well until early last week. On Monday, June 9, EA Sports announced that it had agreed to settle certain claims against it for $20 million, with the payment going to certain former college athletes.