WHO'S INVOLVED? The original suit was filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon. Since O'Bannon filed suit in 2009, several other plaintiffs have joined, including former Nebraska QB Sam Keller, former Alabama WR Tyrone Prothro (whose career was ended by a serious knee injury) and former basketball Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell.
THE CASE AT HAND: The players contend the NCAA, Electronic Arts Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company are violating antitrust law by preventing athletes from being paid for use of their names, images and likenesses, even after their college playing days are over.
WHAT'S NEXT? On Thursday, federal judge Claudia Wilken will preside over a hearing to determine whether the lawsuit should be granted class-action status. This is considered a critical point in a case that many analysts are surprised has made it this far. Critical in this decision is whether the suit will include both former and current players if class-action status is granted. If class-action status is granted, the potential damages against the NCAA and other defendants would soar.
AT STAKE: If the NCAA and other defendants prevail, they can maintain business as usual. But if the plaintiffs are granted class status and eventually prevail in the case, it could end the days of major college athletes being amateurs.
Antonya English, Times staff writer