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August 9, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Judge rules against NCAA in landmark decision

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon in his office in Henderson, Nev., in 2010. A federal judge ruled in O'Bannon's favor Friday in a landmark suit against the NCAA over its amateurism rules. (Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon in his office in Henderson, Nev., in 2010. A federal judge ruled in O’Bannon’s favor Friday in a landmark suit against the NCAA over its amateurism rules. (Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press and New York Times

In a decision that could drastically reshape the world of college sports, a federal judge ruled Friday the NCAA’s decades-old rules barring payments to athletes were in violation of antitrust laws.

In a 99-page ruling, Judge Claudia Wilken of U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., delivered a resounding rebuke to the foundation of the NCAA, issuing an injunction against current rules that prohibit athletes from earning money from the use of their names and images in video games and television broadcasts.

The decision would allow universities to offer Division I football and men’s basketball players trust funds that can be accessed after their eligibility ends, giving players a chance to share in the billions of dollars in television revenue they help generate for their colleges and the NCAA.

Ed O’Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player, filed the lawsuit in 2009 after seeing himself in a video game years after the end of his college career.

In a partial victory for the NCAA, though, Wilken said the body could set a cap on the money paid to athletes, as long as it allows at least $5,000 per athlete per year of competition.

Individual schools could offer less money, she said, but only if they don’t unlawfully conspire among themselves to set those amounts.

That means football players at the biggest schools and Division I basketball players who are on rosters for four years could potentially get around $20,000 when they leave school.

Wilken said she set the $5,000 annual threshold to balance the NCAA’s fears about huge payments to players.

Former athletes will not be paid, because they gave up their right to damages in a pretrial move so the case would be heard by a judge, not a jury.

SATURDAY MORNING LINKS:

Here’s the response from NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy.

— ESPN’s Tom Farrey tries to break down what the decision will mean to the NCAA.

— CBSsports.com’s Dennis Dodd writes the current NCAA model is dead.

Both sides can claim victory from the ruling.

— A potential Washington 2015 recruit Bennie Boatwright verbally committed to USC.

Arizona State landed 2015 recruit Dominic Green.

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