Ed O'Bannon plaintiffs ask Supreme Court to hear case against NCAA

The plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit led by Ed O'Bannon have asked the Supreme Court to hear the antitrust case against the NCAA.

Last fall, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a decision by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, which called for college football and men's basketball players to be paid up to $5,000 per year in deferred money. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that the NCAA’s rules restricting payments to players violated antitrust laws.

The entire case stems from O’Bannon’s original claim that college athletes should be paid for use of their names, images and likenesses.

“The more we saw how the NCAA was attempting to diminish the significance of the decision, avoid its consequences and its rational outcome, it became evident that the situation of college athletes would benefit considerably by a Supreme Court decision,” O'Bannon attorney Michael Hausfeld said.

The Supreme Court doesn’t make a habit of hearing petitioned cases. In fact, less than 1 percent of the cases petitioned to the Supreme Court make it to the Justices. However, the Supreme Court does like to take an interest in high-profile cases, and the O’Bannon case has been around since 2009.

The plaintiffs hope the Supreme Court will reverse the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that essentially said Wilken’s ruling of voluntarily paying players no less than $5,000 per year would harm amateurism, and that the cost of attendance stipend, which is tied to education, was sufficient compensation for college athletes.

Ninth Circuit judge Jay Bybee wrote on the decision: “The difference between offering student-athletes education-related compensation and offering them cash sums untethered to educational expenses is not minor; it is a quantum leap. Once that line is crossed, we see no basis for returning to a rule of amateurism and no defined stopping point.

“At that point, the NCAA will have surrendered its amateurism principles entirely and transitioned from its 'particular brand of football' to minor league status.”

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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