The system envisioned by the plaintiffs, as outlined in the new filing: “individual conferences and/or schools would be free to make their own independent determinations about how to fairly compensate” the athletes. “If some conferences or schools wish to enact new rules limiting benefits on a justifiable basis, they could do so,” but the injunction would “ensure that (athletes) enjoy the benefits of competition among the individual conferences and schools that the antitrust laws require.”
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken set a trial date of Dec. 3 for the lawsuits, which seek to prevent the NCAA and a group of 11 major conferences from collectively confining athletes to receiving scholarships covering tuition, fees, room, board, books and incidental costs of attending college.
Wilken is the same judge who oversaw the Ed O’Bannon antitrust trial, which resulted in a finding against the NCAA that was modified on appeal.
Both sides in these cases had asked Wilken for a summary judgment ruling in their favor without a trial.
In a 36-page opinion, Wilken did not give either side total victory. However, she rejected several of the NCAA’s critical contentions and set the stage for the plaintiffs to seek a new system that would apply to Division I men’s and women’s basketball players and to football players at Football Bowl Subdivision schools.