The Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA is headed for settlement talks following a judge's ruling on Friday.
According to AL.com's Jon Solomon, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ordered that the NCAA and the two sets of plaintiffs, headlined by O'Bannon and former college quarterback Sam Keller begin settlement talks "as soon as it is convenient."
The case has been referred to Magistrate Judge Nathanel Cousins for a conference.
I know O'Bannon plaintiffs always have been open to settlement, which makes sense given the financial incentives at play.— Patrick Hruby (@patrick_hruby) February 28, 2014
O'Bannon starred for the UCLA Bruins basketball team in the early 1990s while Keller played college football at Arizona State and Nebraska during the 2000s.
According to Solomon, O'Bannon's set of plaintiffs are aiming to ban the NCAA's restrictions that currently prevent college athletes from earning money. On the other hand, Keller's lawsuit centers on the issue of athletes' names and likeness in various video games.
Solomon adds that Keller is also pursuing "damages and profits from the game."
In a statement released, the NCAA's chief legal officer Donald Remy confirmed the organization's participation, per Solomon:
Will the two sides agree to a settlement?
"The NCAA will of course participate in the court-ordered mediation, however, we will continue to protect the core principles of the collegiate model."
If no settlement is reached in the coming months, Wilken has stated that the case will go to trial as soon as June 9, per Solomon.
It remains to be seen what the dissenting parties will emerge with if a settlement is reached. However, for now, it's clear that the case has finally taken a potentially productive step.
If the settlement talks fail to yield any results, college sports fans can expect to hear and read plenty more headlines about this dispute as both sides continue to plead their case.
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