On Saturday, USA Today reported that the NCAA has filed for a stay of injunction with the 9th Circuit in regard to the August 2014 U.S. district ruling in O'Bannon v. NCAA, which stated that the NCAA's practice of denying student-athletes in perpetuity the ability to profit from the use of their image in likeness (specifically in the lucrative videogame market) constituted a violation of antitrust law. The district court's ruling ordered that Division-I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions begin putting $5,000 per year per athlete in trust for football and men's basketball players, beginning with student-athletes enrolling in Summer 2016.
A lawyer for the NCAA was quoted as saying, "If allowed to take effect, the injunction would radically alter an essential quality of college sports, amateurism. It would also fundamentally alter the way in which colleges recruit high school students, and thus redefine the process by which those students make one of the most momentous choices of their lives: which college to attend."
This argument baffles me, as the NCAA approved last summer a new governance structure that allows the "Power Five" conferences: SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac 12 the ability to enact policies that pertain only to them. Most notably, the Power Five created a distinct marketing advantage when it passed a resolution allowing their institutions to provide scholarships above and beyond what other institutions are allowed to offer, which is tuition, room and board, and books. (This calculation falls short of the federal estimation of "full cost of attendance".) So if the wealthiest conferences are allowed to create a recruiting advantage by offering larger scholarships, how would using the millions of dollars generated by the NCAA to create a post-graduation trust fund violate amateurism? The NCAA attorney also stated that the injunction levied in the O'Bannon case may force some institutions to cut teams as a result of the increased costs.
What does appear to be an issue is how this ruling will be construed vis a vis Title IX, and whether women's teams can benefit from the trust provison. Also unresolved is how tax law will affect the student-athletes, who may have to pay taxes on the deferred payments.