Former and current NCAA athletes scored a victory yesterday when a California judge allowed them to continue their legal pursuit of money earned by the NCAA during its broadcast of collegiate athletic competitions.
That does not mean that they are about to be heading to the pay window just yet, however. It just means that at this juncture the judge is not ready to halt the possibility of the athletes being compensated for their appearances. The group of athletes seeking payment changed their initial requests and the judge needs more time to review the information. The NCAA wanted the lawsuit tossed out.
The athletes are led by Ed O'Bannon, a former star at UCLA whose National Basketball Association career was disappointing, to say the least. His group wanted payment for their appearances (in unnamed form) in different NCAA video games. The NCAA forced these athletes to sign away their rights to income from these games, which has led to the former athletes saying that they could not sign their own deals because the NCAA's partners were blackballing them.
These lawsuits have been going on for nearly four years. Two years ago, the plaintiffs sought for Fox and TBS to share details of their television deals with the NCAA. In August 2012, a judge ordered the NCAA to turn over information relations to the revenue it receives from broadcast TV, radio and the Internet.
Should these athletes be compensated?