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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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  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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