Judge rules players can pursue TV money in NCAA lawsuit

A federal court judge rejected an NCAA motion on Tuesday that would have prevented players in an antitrust suit from advancing their lawsuit in a hope of pursuing a cut of TV money, according to an ESPN.com report.

The NCAA had hoped to thwart efforts by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and other college basketball and football players to claim a share of the revenues from live television broadcasts. Originally, the suit had included just rebroadcast revenues.

The motion from the NCAA was based on a procedural objection regarding the amending of the lawsuit last year. Judge Claudia Wilken has now set a hearing on the merits of the motion for June 20.

A statement from NCAA general counsel Donald Remy read as follows:

"Although our motion to strike was denied, the judge has signaled skepticism on plaintiff's class-certification motion and recognized the plaintiffs' radical change in their theory of the case. This is a step in the right direction toward allowing the NCAA to further demonstrate why this case is wrong on the law and that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that this case satisfies the criteria for class litigation."

The lawsuit began in 2009, with O’Bannon among the number of former college basketball and football players challenging the NCAA’s licensing of their images for a share of the revenue.

From Tom Farrey of ESPN.com:

In the event that the plaintiffs prevail, [lead counsel Michael] Hausfeld has set up a mechanism for players to collect licensing revenues. The Former College Athletes Association (FCAA) would negotiate licenses with the NCAA, member colleges, video game and media companies, according to Jon King, a former Hausfeld LLC lawyer who worked on the case.

The case would go to trial in 2014, per ESPN.

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