November 8, 2013
A federal judge denied a motion by the NCAA on Oct. 22 to dismiss a lawsuit that may become a class action on the part of college athletes from California and throughout the United States. The 4 1/2-year-old business fraud case alleges that the NCAA and video game creator Electronic Arts used the names and likenesses of college athletes without their permission.
The judge in the latest motion ruled that the case would not be dismissed against the NCAA as the organization had petitioned. Instead, the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Co. may reach a settlement agreement similar to the one already reached with Electronic Arts. If the case continues and becomes a class action, there is a potential of billions of dollars in exposure for the defendant.
The judge ruled that the case should not be bound by the 1984 Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA is an amateur system. Rather, she sided with the plaintiff that the current system that prohibits college athletes from receiving compensation while in school actually results in lower pay for athletes. This leads to the question of whether lawsuits such as this one should be allowed under current antitrust laws.
Cases involving antitrust issues, patent or copyright infringement and other arguments about the rights to compensation from a person's talent or name can become extremely complicated. A business attorney may represent a company that is facing an antitrust lawsuit or one that feels its rights have been violated. Either way, the attorney may work to represent the best interests of his or her client and offers advice on how to deal with various legal issues pertaining to conducting business.
Source: USA Today, "Judge denies NCAA's motion to dismiss antitrust lawsuit", Steve Berkowitz, October 25, 2013