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Judge not impressed by NCAA free speech claim

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will have to defend itself in federal court in a lawsuit contending that it denied college athletes a share of licensing fees for televised games. The NCAA argued that the games were public events not commercial in nature therefore under the umbrella of free speech protections. The judge was not impressed with the argument. (Bloomberg News, February 20, 2014, by Karen Gullo)

The decision in federal district court ordering the case to trial is certain to bring greater transparency to the NCAA’s licensing practices. No one has actually viewed the details of how they sell college athlete’s images and likenesses. The contracts earn billions for the NCAA. (Lawyers.com, February 20, 2014)

The judge questioned why if the games are public events that they can be broadcast exclusively by one network. The attorney for the plaintiffs also argued that the NCAA argument that the players had no right to publicity was circular based on the NCAA’s statement that they had no right because the NCAA said so. (The Recorder, February 21, 20-14, by Julia Love)

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