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Judge orders NCAA to pay $44.5 million for Ed O'Bannon's legal fees

The NCAA has lost another battle in the courts, and this one will be costly.

On Monday, a federal magistrate judge ordered the NCAA to pay nearly $44.5 million in legal fees to the attorneys used by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, denying the NCAA's request to reduce the payment to as little as $8.5 million.

Though the decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins is less than the $50.9 million that Michael Hausfeld, O'Bannon's lead attorney, originally sought last August, it is still a significant hit in the pocketbook for the NCAA.

That is, if it stands.

Though a federal judge ruled in August that the NCAA violated antitrust laws by denying football and men's basketball players the chance to be paid for their likenesses, the NCAA has appealed that decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

No decision has been made, but if the appellate court sides with the NCAA, it could reduce the amount the lawyers will receive.