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NCAA Moves To Appeal Judge's Ruling On Compensating Athletes

The NCAA is moving to appeal a federal judge's ruling that would require the organization to allow colleges to compensate students who play football and basketball. Current and former students had sued on antitrust grounds over the use of their names and images for video games, TV programs and other commercial enterprises.

A judge gave the athletes a victory Friday — but the NCAA has a strong track record when it appeals.

NPR's Tom Goldman reports that "a recent University of Illinois study on athlete lawsuits against the NCAA says the organization wins more than 70 percent of the time on appeal. The injunction [U.S. District] Judge [Claudia] Wilken imposed on the NCAA will not be stayed during the appeal process."

Announcing the NCAA's plan to appeal Sunday, chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement, "We remain confident the NCAA has not violated the anti-trust laws."

Early Monday, the organization sent a request to Wilken seeking to clarify elements of her ruling so it can file its appeal and give guidance to member schools, according to USA Today.

On Friday, Wilken said the NCAA's restrictions on paying athletes "unreasonably restrain trade," and she ruled that the athletes should be allowed to be compensated, noting that universities might offer richer scholarships or hold money for the student athletes in trust accounts.

The lawsuit has been led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, who saw his name and likeness used in video games years after his college playing days were over.

Just one day before Wilken announced her ruling, the NCAA voted to give new autonomy to schools in five elite sports conferences — the Pac-12, the Big 12, the Big Ten, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference — over matters that could include more scholarship money and better health care benefits.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.