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A lawsuit first filed against the NCAA in 2009 and subject to a variety of revisions is not over, despite a judge's ruling last week that could have marked the end.

As expected, college athletics' ruling body said Sunday that it would appeal the decision in the Ed O'Bannon images and likenesses case.

"We remain confident that the NCAA has not violated the antitrust laws and intend to appeal. We will also be seeking clarity from the District Court on some details of its ruling," Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer, said in a statement.

A federal judge ruled Friday that NCAA limits on what major-college football and men's basketball players can receive for playing "unreasonably restrain trade" in violation of antitrust laws.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, in a 99-page ruling in favor of a group of plaintiffs led by former UCLA basketball player O'Bannon, issued an injunction that will prevent the NCAA "from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their (Football Bowl Subdivision) or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images and likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid."

"The NCAA has a right to appeal, but there comes a time when any rational person has to come to the conclusion that it's time to cut your losses and be accountable for your wrongs," Michael Hausfeld, the plaintiffs' lead attorney, said Sunday.

Wilken's ruling could enable football and men's basketball players to receive more from schools, but Wilken imposed limits and rejected the proposal that athletes be allowed to receive money for endorsements.

Wilken said the injunction would not be stayed pending any appeal of her ruling, but it will not take effect until the start of the next FBS and Division I basketball recruiting cycles. At the earliest, the first group of recruits to be affected by the ruling likely would be those entering school in 2016.

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NCAA President Mark Emmert told ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos that the NCAA found a lot in the decision that was admirable but also parts that he and other officials found so disagreeable they could not let it go unchallenged in court.

"Yes, at least in part we will," Emmert said when asked whether the NCAA planned an appeal. "No one on our legal team or the college conferences' legal teams think this is a violation of antitrust laws, and we need to get that settled in the courts."

Gary Roberts, dean emeritus of the Indiana University Law School in Indianapolis, and Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Law School's sports law program, told USA TODAY Sports the NCAA can assert that Wilken erred in some areas, including:

Her rejection of the NCAA argument that the First Amendment and various state laws bar athletes from making claims related to the use of their names and likenesses in live TV broadcasts, a huge source of the licensing revenue to which Wilken ruled the athletes are entitled, at least in a limited way.

Her refusal to be bound by a 1984 Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA has relied upon to preserve its amateurism system. NCAA v. Board of Regents was about control of college football TV rights, but the Supreme Court included the statement "in order to preserve the character and quality of the (NCAA's) 'product,' athletes must not be paid, must be required to attend class and the like."

Contributing: The Associated Press

 

August 11, 2014
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