Intellectual Property

Judge Denies Former College Athletes Request For TV Contracts, Licensing Agreements, Revenue Reports

The following article was written by Spencer Wingate.

Former NCAA athletes were dealt a blow by US Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in their attempt to show that the NCAA forces athletes to relinquish their publicity rights. Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Ed O’Bannon were amongst a group hoping to obtain highly sensitive TV sports contracts and other documents. The items pertain to an ongoing lawsuit alleging NCAA members, conferences, and licensing partners are unfairly profiting billions of dollars through the exploitation of student-athletes. The far-ranging subpoena request sought to obtain numerous television contracts, licensing agreements, and revenue reports.  Judge Cousins deemed the request far too broad and unduly burdensome.

The athletes are in an ongoing struggle against the NCAA regarding alleged exploitation. They argue the NCAA classifies athletes as amateurs to control and profit from them. They want to shed light on the big business and revenue of college sports.  Through the US Judicial System, they are requesting access to sensitive and confidential documents. Judge Cousins’ ruling is disappointing, but a number of cases have yet to be decided. Some judicial success was recently found when Judge Cousins ruled NCAA President Mark Emmert must sit down for a three hour deposition in March 2012. NCAA policies of amateurism and competitive balance will be key topics explored. Mr. Emmert will most likely be required to address a number of controversial topics such as paying student athletes.