The NCAA's attempt to delay and redefine the Ed O'Bannon antitrust suit was denied by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on Friday and the trial will begin as scheduled on June 9, according to to the Associated Press.
The NCAA filed a motion to delay the trial until February 2015 by combining it with the Keller trial, which is focused on athletes' likeness being used in video games. Attorneys for the NCAA based their motions on overlap between the two trials and whether multiple trials would be allowed under the Seventh Amendment. Wilken denied the motions, keeping the scheduled trial date in tact while also setting a March 23, 2015 trial date for the Keller case. The NCAA requested to sever all evidence related to the video games from the O'Bannon antitrust suit, but that request was also denied.
"We got everything we wanted from the ruling and that was to stop the efforts by the NCAA of diverting the issue," Michael Hausfeld, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said, via Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com.
NCAA V. O'Bannon
NCAA V. O'Bannon
The trial, which could dramatically alter the current landscape of the NCAA, could last up to 15 days, meaning a verdict should be resolved by the end of June. The plaintiffs are seeking to end the restrictions the NCAA currently puts on student-athletes and their ability to receive compensation for their names and likenesses. There is a chance the suit never goes to trial and the two sides settle, but Hausfeld said the sides haven't come close in settlement talks, according to Solomon.
If the case does go to trial, the NCAA will be burdened with providing facts to prove the current restrictions do contribute to the integration of education and athletics as the organization claims. Wilken has already said the argument of amateurism isn't valid since the NCAA was the one to create the amateurism rules. Instead, as Kevin Trahan wrote, the NCAA will have a hard time winning the case:
Considering that burden and the questions the NCAA is going to have to answer, it's fighting a nearly impossible battle. Unless Wilken finds that under the special circumstances of collegiate athletics the NCAA is exempt from following antitrust law, the organization is going to have to make some concessions.