Lawsuits May Change How NCAA Operates

In a July 26, 2009, article published by the Indianapolis Star, a new string of legal challenges have been brought against the National Collegiate Athletic Association by athletes who think they have been unfairly used for financial gain. Those challenges may redefine the relationship among the NCAA, universities, and athletes, and may come with a hefty price tag in legal costs. Since 1995, the Indianapolis-based NCAA has spent more than $84 million on legal fees, a figure that includes some of its settlements, according to The Indianapolis Star’s analysis of Internal Revenue Service filings and interviews with the NCAA.

Scholars told the Star that the NCAA — classified by the IRS as a nonprofit educational organization — is an inviting target for lawsuits as it tries to balance the ideals of higher education and amateur sports with the demands of a sprawling sports entertainment industry. The latest athlete to take aim is former University of California at Los Angeles basketball star Ed O’Bannon, who recently filed an antitrust lawsuit contending that the NCAA and its member schools illegally profit from using former players’ images in DVDs, TV ads and other commercial pursuits.

The article presents three recent lawsuits relating to presentation of athletes’ visual likeness in video games, as well as a history of more notable lawsuits involving the NCAA dating back to 1983. For the complete article, link here.