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Emmert says NCAA will appeal O'Bannon ruling

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NCAA President Mark Emmert said Sunday that the NCAA will appeal a ruling that opens the door for college athletes to receive some of the money they help generate in major sports.

In the president's first public comments since Friday's ruling, Emmert told ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" that college sports' largest governing body found a lot in the decision that was "admirable" and some parts they disagreed with so strongly that they could not let it go unchallenged in court.

"Yes, at least in part we will," Emmert said when asked whether the NCAA planned an appeal. "No one on our legal team or the college conferences' legal teams think this is a violation of antitrust laws and we need to get that settled in the courts."

The NCAA's decision to challenge the ruling is hardly a surprise.

Donald Remy, the organization's chief legal officer, had repeatedly said that if the NCAA lost, it would appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed. Many legal experts think this case could be heading that direction, though it's unclear whether the nation's highest court would take it.

"We remain confident that the NCAA has not violated the antitrust laws and intend to appeal," Remy said in a statement released following the television show. "We will also be seeking clarity from the district court on some details of its ruling."

Joseph Farelli, an attorney with the New York-based law firm of Pitta & Giblin who specializes in labor law, said the NCAA didn't have a choice after U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on Friday shot down the NCAA's argument that its model of amateurism was the only way to run college sports. Wilken wrote that football players in FBS schools and Division I men's basketball players must be allowed to receive at least $5,000 a year for rights to their names, images and likenesses, money that would be put in a trust fund and given to them when they leave school.

"I would expect them to appeal it because now you're going to have a permanent injunction that says the NCAA can't regulate what colleges do with their student-athletes," Farelli told The Associated Press. "If they don't appeal, now you have a federal court precedent."

If the NCAA allowed that decision to stand, Farelli said, it could lead to even more litigation against the NCAA on hot-button topics such as Title IX and whether there should be any cap on how much money athletes should receive.

Emmert acknowledged Sunday that Wilken's decision could lead to a fundamental shift in college sports.

Historically, the NCAA fares better in the appellate system. According to a study released last month by Illinois professor Michael LeRoy, student-athletes suing the NCAA won 49 percent of the initial cases but the NCAA won 71 percent of the appeals in both the second and third rounds.

This time could be different because of the venue.

"The problem for the NCAA is that the appeal will be in the Ninth Circuit, and the Ninth Circuit is generally a labor-friendly circuit. Looking from the outside, it would likely favor O'Bannon," said Michael McCann, director of the sports and entertainment law center at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. "It depends on which judges get the case and we won't know that."

Emmert did applaud parts of the decision that allow the NCAA to enforce other rules and the imposition of the cap.

But by the time the payments are supposed to begin in 2016, the NCAA could be operating under new rules.

The board of directors voted Thursday to give the five richest conferences more authority to unilaterally change some of the rules, a move that paves the way for giving players enough money to defray all or most of their college expenses including those that go beyond current limit of tuition, room and board, books and fees.

"There's little debate about the need to do that," Emmert said, "and I think this move will finally allow us to get there."

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  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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