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NCAA files motion against latest tactic in likeness case

The NCAA continues to defend itself against claims that it misuses student-athlete likeness.

In its latest action, the Association has filed a motion in federal court to strike down a move by opposing lawyers to essentially change the nature of the lawsuit by attempting to include current student-athletes as part of the class and to include live broadcast as part of the case.

The following statement from NCAA Executive Vice President and General Counsel Donald Remy addresses the latest action:

“The motion to strike is a strong statement that the NCAA will not allow the plaintiffs to unfairly decide the direction of litigation, especially for lawsuits that have no basis of truth.

“The plaintiffs, including Ed O’Bannon, Bill Russell, and Oscar Robertson, first incorrectly claimed that the NCAA forced student-athletes to forever sign away any rights to license or sell their collegiate image or likeness as former student-athletes. Three years of litigation -- including discovery and depositions of plaintiffs -- have shown that their claims are not true. NCAA rules do not limit former student-athletes’ ability to monetize the rights to their likeness after college.

“Now, the plaintiffs have essentially admitted by seeking to certify and expand the class of individuals in the lawsuit what the NCAA has maintained all along—that this lawsuit lacks any truth. They have basically deserted the claims of O’Bannon, Russell, and Robertson and are trying to bring a backdoor suit against the NCAA’s core principle of amateurism. This is an astonishing admission that their original claims are invalid.

“The NCAA expects whatever plaintiffs remain to drop their suit and motion for class certification and to admit that, after three years of trying their case in the court of public opinion, they have abandoned the original plaintiffs.  If they wish to file a new lawsuit, the NCAA will defend itself again and seek to recoup all costs and other appropriate relief as allowed by the courts. The allegation that so-called “pay for play” is mandated by antitrust law has been repeatedly repudiated by courts at every level, including by the United States Supreme Court. The NCAA is confident that its position is correct.”