OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) --Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon took the stand in a federal courtroom Monday, as he challenges the NCAA over the right for college athletes to earn money. It's a lawsuit that could have major implications for college basketball and football players.
Day one of the landmark antitrust suit was all about O'Bannon's team of lawyers laying the foundation for their case. Both sides know a lot of money and tradition is at stake.
Elite college athletes have a love, hate relationship with zero. It's the amount many pay for an education at a top university. It's also the amount they make when their name image and likeness appear in video games, school merchandise, or on TV.
"I was recruited to play basketball," O'Bannon said.
The former UCLA basketball player noticed his likeness in a Bruins uniform in a video game several years ago. The company made money off the product; he never saw a cent.
"Athletes, in particular basketball players and football players in college, when they are bringing in the amount of money that they are bringing in, they should probably get a piece of that pie," he said.
After nearly five years of contentious back and forth exchanges, the NCAA and O'Bannon's team of lawyers tipped off the trial in district court Monday.
Attorney Michael Hausfeld says the strategy is to show college athletes deserve to be paid.
"This fiction that there is something called a student athlete is a camouflage or as the NCAA has called it internally, a hypocrisy, which allows the NCAA as an enterprise, with its member institutions to, as Dr. Noll just said, to exploit the athletes and extract value that otherwise belongs to them," he said.
Hausfeld argues without the NCAA rules, players would be able to get money from endorsements and marketing.
The NCAA will present its counter arguments in the coming days.
On Monday they left the court without comment.