The landmark legal case Ed O'Bannon v. NCAA finally heads to court on Monday to decide whether the NCAA can forbid college athletes from profiting off their own likenesses — and perhaps whether the NCAA's entire student-athlete model violates antitrust law.
Here's a rundown of what's taking place this week, and what is at stake for the future of the NCAA's amatuer sports system.
What the trial is about
A 20-person group of plaintiffs is suing the NCAA on behalf of all men's basketball and football players, as they allege that the NCAA is violating antitrust law by forbidding players from making money from their own names, images, and likenesses. While the NCAA makes big revenues — $912.8 million last year — college athletes' revenues are capped at the cost of tuition, room and board, and some other limited benefits.
The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against the NCAA to end rules that forbid players from making money for their names, images, and likenesses. The plaintiffs are not seeking damages for past uses of their likenesses, but are challenging the legality of the NCAA's model for the future.
As CBS Sports notes, the case largely focuses on television revenues: live broadcasts, rebroadcasts, highlight clips, and video games. O'Bannon wants players to be able to negotiate their own prices for their likenesses. For example, ESPN pays the SEC for the rights to show Tim Tebow highlights from his days at the University of Florida. Should Tebow be paid for that, too?