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NCAA files intent to appeal O'Bannon decision

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The NCAA has notified the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that it intends to appeal a judge's ruling in the Ed O'Bannon case that it violated antitrust laws.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled Aug. 8 that the NCAA broke the law by restricting schools from providing money beyond current scholarship limits to athletes. She said schools should be allowed to place up to $5,000 per athlete per year of competition into a trust fund for football players and men's basketball players, which they could collect after leaving school.

A formal appeal has not yet been submitted, but NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy issued a statement Thursday.

"We are appealing the Court's decision because we do not believe the NCAA has violated the antitrust laws," he said. "In its decision, the Court acknowledged that changes to the rules that govern college athletics would be better achieved outside the courtroom, and the NCAA continues to believe that the association and its members are best positioned to evolve its rules and processes to better serve student-athletes."

Remy also noted that the NCAA has been discussing ways to improve the "student-athlete experience" even before the lawsuit was filed, and through the recent decision to give the five richest football conferences more power over the rule-making process.

What's unclear is how the NCAA's legal team will attack Wilken's ruling in a court that has traditionally been more favorable to labor, or in this case the athletes. A recent study from the University of Illinois shows the NCAA wins about 71 percent in the second and third rounds in court, and some believe this case could be headed the U.S. Supreme Court. Remy has promised to take it there, if necessary.

Earlier this week, NCAA officials declined an interview request with The Associated Press to discuss the case. But antitrust and labor attorneys believe the NCAA's strongest argument might be against the financial cap, a part of the decision the NCAA initially lauded.

"If she's right that these restrictions are an unreasonable restraint of trade then the cap doesn't make any sense," said Robert McTamaney, an antitrust lawyer with the firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn. "Then student-athletes should be able to negotiate for whatever they can get."

Labor attorney Joseph Farelli, who works for the New York-based law firm of Pitta & Giblin, said the NCAA had to file the appeal.

Otherwise, he noted, it could open the NCAA or its member schools to more potential litigation for athletes who are not receiving additional money, including women's athletes who could cite Title IX law.

"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 said. "If they don't appeal now you have federal court precedent."

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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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  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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