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Ninth Circuit Stays Injunction in O’Bannon v. NCAA Pending Final Decision

The Ninth Circuit issued an order last Friday staying an injunction from U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California in O’Bannon v. NCAA until it reaches a decision on the merits of the appeal. The case involves a challenge to the NCAA’s longstanding ban on paying licensing fees to college athletes for the use of their names and likenesses in broadcasts, merchandise, and video games as an anticompetitive restraint of trade. The injunction, which would have prohibited enforcement of NCAA rules barring compensation of college athletes, was scheduled to take effect on August 1.

As we previously reported, the NCAA appealed the district court’s decision concluding the NCAA’s rules prohibiting student athletes from receiving a portion of revenues derived from use of their names and likenesses unreasonably restrain trade under the Sherman Act. The NCAA has argued that its rules, which are designed to protect amateurism, have not caused any anticompetitive harm. The Ninth Circuit heard oral argument in this case on March 17, 2015. We’ll report back once the Ninth Circuit reaches a decision on the antitrust challenge to the NCAA’s policy.