Ed O’Bannon Ruling Means Big Changes for the NCAA

Aug 11, 2014

Judge Claudia Wilken said early on in the Ed O'Bannon trial that the word amateur would hold very little bearing in her court room and she backed this up in her ruling.
Credit United States Courts

U.S. District Judge Claudia Ann Wilken has dealt a major blow to the NCAA's ideal of amateurism in college sports in her ruling of the Ed O'Bannon trial.

In a 99 page ruling, Judge Wilken wrote that "the Court will enjoin the NCAA from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering (Division I-A) football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images or likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid (scholarship)."

Post-Gazette writer Brady McCollough said that the impact from the case will not be immediate, but it will make an impact. This impact will create additional funding and benefits for players but will not destroy the NCAA, as the association had argued in the trial.

“It’s future players, future generations, that will have the benefit of getting what the judge refers to. She didn’t go all the way with it, she didn’t let it just go totally free market. She’s allowing the NCAA to cap this amount, ‘a limited share,’ as she put it in her ruling.”

The NCAA is appealing the ruling, arguing that amateurism is the key to the NCAA’s existence, but McCollough said that these attempts are probably useless.

“I think that it’s going to be futile based on the judge saying, ‘Hey, the NCAA’s definition of amateurism has been changing constantly over the years.’”