In 2009, Ed O’Bannon, a former U.C.L.A. basketball star, sued the N.C.A.A. for using his name and image in television broadcasts and video games. Credit Isaac Brekken for The New York Times
The N.C.A.A. may restrict colleges from compensating athletes beyond the cost of attendance, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on Wednesday in an apparent victory for the college sports establishment as it fights back efforts to expand athletes’ rights.
The ruling upheld a federal judge’s finding last year that the N.C.A.A. “is not above antitrust laws” and that its rules have been too restrictive in maintaining amateurism. But the panel threw out the judge’s proposal that the N.C.A.A. pay athletes $5,000 per year in deferred compensation, stating that limiting compensation to the cost of attendance was sufficient.
(Cost of attendance, typically several thousand dollars more than a traditional scholarship, accounts for additional demands like traveling to and from home and paying cellphone bills.)
“Today, we reaffirm that N.C.A.A. regulations are subject to antitrust scrutiny and must be tested in the crucible of the Rule of Reason,” the appeals panel wrote in what is known as the O’Bannon case.
“In this case,” it added, “the N.C.A.A.’s rules have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market. The Rule of Reason requires that the N.C.A.A. permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student-athletes. It does not require more.”