Lawsuit Over Athletes' Rights Challenges NCAA's Principles of Amateurism

Legal Dispute Over Athletes' Rights Challenges NCAA's Principles of Amateurism 1

Isaac Brekken, AP Images

Ed O'Bannon Jr., a former basketball standout at UCLA, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that argues that the NCAA illegally prevents players from sharing in the revenue flowing in to college sports. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status, affecting potentially thousands of current and former players and threatening to disrupt the concept that college athletes are students first and amateurs.

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close Legal Dispute Over Athletes' Rights Challenges NCAA's Principles of Amateurism 1

Isaac Brekken, AP Images

Ed O'Bannon Jr., a former basketball standout at UCLA, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that argues that the NCAA illegally prevents players from sharing in the revenue flowing in to college sports. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status, affecting potentially thousands of current and former players and threatening to disrupt the concept that college athletes are students first and amateurs.

Four years ago, when Ed O'Bannon filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, he had a fairly straightforward grievance. The former UCLA basketball standout argued that he and other former star players deserved a slice of the multimillion-dollar revenue the association brings in from the sale of video games and other commercial products that used their likenesses.

Since then Mr. O'Bannon's complaint has broadened to include potentially