College Athletes Seek Compensation

When one thinks of “sports,” workers’ rights and labor issues are not the first things that come to mind. But while American major-sport professional athletes are paid mind-boggling sums, college players are not allowed to be paid at all, even as they bring in enormous revenue for their universities.

This exploitative model of unpaid student-athletes is being challenged. Bloomberg explains:

O’Bannon v. NCAA [is] an antitrust lawsuit filed in 2009 by former UCLA All-American basketball player Ed O’Bannon and a handful of other ex-college athletes, who don’t think the NCAA should be profiting from their names and images without sharing the royalty payments.

In their latest filing, O’Bannon’s lawyers argue that the case deserves class-action status. If their request is granted, the NCAA would be liable for claims brought not just by the plaintiffs but also by all former athletes. Anyone who has ever played a Division I college sport would instantly be suing for damages for every instance in which his or her image was used in a video game, highlight reel, broadcast or rebroadcast.

Further recent coverage of this subject is available at The Economist.