10:54 AM - January 24, 2015 by MMChrisS
The NCAA's appeal of the Ed O'Bannon class-action lawsuit against the NCAA is now going before the same court which ruled against the Association's former co-defendants in what the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided is a "related case."
By most measures, this is a very bad turn of events for the NCAA. The NCAA was seeking to appeal the earlier decision in a lower court to overturn the ruling which favored O'Bannon.
An O'Bannon victory would change the scope of collegiate athletics forever.
The NCAA's contention is that the 9th Circuit ruled erroneously in the earlier Keller case, contradicting "settled First Amendment doctrine" which allows for expressive use of realistic images. The NCAA is also arguing that athletes are not entitled to compensation for the use of their names and likenesses in live telecasts because they constitute news coverage.
An NCAA victory in the case would keep things status quo, while an O'Bannon victory would change how the business model of collegiate athletics works -- with athletes seemingly able to discuss rightful compensation for their image in any manner of media. In the lower court ruling, Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that athletes in football and men's basketball were eligible for full cost of attendance scholarships as well as deferred compensation in exchange for their participation in the big money making sports.
Where this leaves the case and the future of collegiate video games is clear, but it's still a long road. The NCAA is determined to take this case to the Supreme Court it appears -- and the schools themselves aren't exactly willing to move ahead of the NCAA on the deferred compensation part of the ruling. For any collegiate sports video game to be made and released, that part of the case will have to be settled, which could mean until the Supreme Court rules in what could be a time frame of years down the line -- we won't see another collegiate sports video game.