O'Bannon v. NCAA

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

802 F.3d 1049 (9th Cir. 2015)

The amateurism rules, which limit student-athlete compensation to only scholarships and prohibit even small deferred cash payments, do not violate antitrust laws.

Relevant Facts

Former all-American UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon (the plaintiff) found an avatar of himself in a video game. The plaintiff did not give consent to be placed in the video game, nor was he paid for its use. As a result, the plaintiff sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Collegiate Licensing Company, which licenses NCAA trademarks (collectively the defendants), alleging that the rules forbidding paying an athlete violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. The NCAA enforced an amateurism rule, which permitted schools to pay athletes grants-in-aid covering tuition and fees, room and board, and required textbooks, but prohibited any athlete from receiving pay for their athletic performance of any kind, including the use of an athlete’s name, image, and likeness. The trial court found the NCAA compensation rules to be an unlawful restraint of trade and enjoined it from prohibiting schools from paying athletes up to $5,000 in deferred compensation. The NCAA appealed.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 23, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

802 F.3d 1049 (9th Cir. 2015)