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Judge Denies NCAA’s Motion to Dismiss Antitrust Case

A federal judge on Friday denied the NCAA’s motion to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit that challenges the association’s principles of amateurism. The move puts the plaintiffs, who include the former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon, a step closer to having their case certified as a class action. If that happens, thousands of current and former players could lay claim to billions of dollars in TV revenue generated by NCAA programs.

The NCAA has denied the claims and has said it will fight to the Supreme Court if necessary.

In her ruling, Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District in Oakland, Calif., said that none of the NCAA’s arguments provided grounds for dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims “at this stage,” USA Today reported.

Judge Wilken’s 24-page opinion carries some potentially troubling signs for the NCAA. She indicated that the case should not be bound by a 1984 Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA has relied upon to preserve its amateurism system. She also let stand the plaintiffs’ contention that NCAA rules forbidding colleges to compensate athletes for their labor or for the commercial use of their names, images, and likenesses restrain competition for the athletes and result in lower compensation for them than would otherwise exist.

“These allegations are sufficient to state a Sherman Act claim,” she wrote.

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