A judge ruled that the NCAA will have to pay $44.4 million in attorneys’ fees and an additional $1.5 million in costs to lawyers for the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, despite the NCAA's claims that the legal fees amounted to less than $10 million.
O’Bannon was one of 20 former college athletes who sued the NCAA, believing that college athletes should receive a share of the revenues made from the use of their images in television broadcasts and video games.
District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled last August that the NCAA cannot prevent athletes from selling the rights to their names, images and likenesses, nor could it cap payments to players at any less than $5,000 for every year of competition. A school could put the money in a trust until the athlete graduates or is no longer eligible to play their sport. This benefit could go into effect as soon as the 2016-17 academic year.
The NCAA appealed Wilken’s ruling in March, and a decision has yet to be reached in the appeal.
Federal magistrate judge Nathanael Cousins made the ruling about the legal fees on Monday and said that while the plaintiffs didn’t succeed in winning every claim, the unsuccessful claims “contributed to the decisive success by laying the groundwork for the eventual trial victory.”