SBD/February 9, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Judge Blocks Former College Athletes From Obtaining Docs Pertaining To Image Lawsuit

Russell, Robertson are part of group trying to obtain highly sensitive TV sports contracts
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in S.F. Tuesday “blocked an attempt by former NCAA athletes including Bill Russell, Ed O'Bannon, and Oscar Robertson to obtain ‘highly sensitive’ TV sports contracts and other documents pertaining to an ongoing class action lawsuit that alleges the NCAA, its members and conferences and licensing partners are unfairly profiting off of athletes' images,” according to Eriq Gardner of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The decision is “a blow to the ex-athletes' wish to gain information that would purportedly show a conspiracy that the NCAA forces collegiate sports stars to relinquish their rights as various colleges and corporations earn billions of dollars off their backs.” Cousins in his decision turned down a subpoena request, that included "all television contracts concerning Division I football and basketball, all licensing agreements with ‘outside’ licensing entities, revenue or royalty reports, all documents relating to the releases and consent forms that athletes must sign, all documents relating to copyright and licensing policies in collegiate sports, all documents relating to deals with videogame publisher Electronic Arts, and more.” Cousins “also rejected an attempt to procure from Fox and others documents that made reference to the ongoing litigation, discussions at trade association meetings, and documents concerning the amateur status of athletes including any proposed changes" to the status. Cousins did recently grant the plaintiffs' "request to get NCAA President Mark Emmert to sit down for a three-hour deposition.” Emmert next month "will be forced to answer tough questions about the NCAA’s policies in the promotion of amateurism and competitive balance” (, 2/8).
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