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O'Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
802 F.3d 1049 (2015)



Only amateurs play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (codefendant). Schools may pay athletes grants-in-aid covering tuition and fees, room and board, and required textbooks. However, no athlete may receive pay for their athletic performance of any kind, including for use of the athlete’s name, image, and likeness (NIL). Former all-American UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon (plaintiff) saw an avatar of himself in a video game. He had neither consented to nor been paid for its use. O’Bannon sued the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company (codefendant), which licenses NCAA trademarks, alleging that the rules forbidding paying an athlete violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. The trial court found the NCAA compensation rules to be an unlawful restraint of trade and enjoined it from prohibiting schools from paying athletes up to $5,000 deferred compensation. The NCAA appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bybee, J.)

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