An attempt by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to delay and redefine the Ed O’Bannon antitrust suit has been denied by United States District Judge Claudia Wilken. The trial, which will begin as scheduled on June 9th, could last up to 15 days and a verdict is expected before the month concludes.
The plaintiffs are seeking to end the restrictions placed by the NCAA which currently blocks the ability of student athletes to receive compensation for their names and likenesses. Chances of a settlement seem unlikely after Michael Hausfeld, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, reported that the sides still haven’t come close in pre-trial discussions. If the case goes to trial, the NCAA will be forced to provide facts that prove current restrictions do contribute to the integration of education and athletics as the organization has claimed.
Judge Wilken has also set another trial for next March on claims made by other athletes that the NCAA and videogame maker Electronic Arts have misappropriated athletes’ names and likenesses for NCAA-branded videogames. This case had previously been combined with the O’Bannon case.
The plaintiffs are made up of twenty former athletes including basketball greats Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson. The suit seeks an injunction that would allow athletes to sell their services to colleges in the form of pay or extra benefits that the NCAA doesn’t currently allow. Earlier this month the plaintiffs dropped their demand for individual damages which has narrowed the scope of the trial.