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Ed O’Bannon et al. v. NCAA

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    By Stuart

    Ed O’Bannon et al. vs. NCAA – The trial which could change collegiate athletics

    On Monday, the long-awaited (five years) trial of Ed O’Bannon against the NCAA gets underway in Oakland, California. The trial and its implications will almost certainly have wide-ranging and long-lasting effects upon college sports.
    An Introduction
    From ESPN … After nearly five years of maneuvers and machinations that would baffle a law professor, former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon will walk into a federal courtroom Monday as the star witness in a trial that will decide whether the NCAA must pay college athletes for its use of their likenesses in television broadcasts, video games and other consumer products.
    The trial, in Oakland, Calif., comes after more than two dozen lawyers filed some 1,300 related court documents since 2009. It comes after numerous NCAA attempts to terminate O’Bannon’s quest, all of them unsuccessful. It comes after the case has been consolidated, de-consolidated and partially settled.
    And, most important, it comes at a critical time in the history of college sports, when the power conferences take in more than a billion dollars in a single year, when numerous head coaches are paid $7 million per year, when assistant coaches can make $800,000, and when universities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on stadiums and training facilities.
    Former athletes like O’Bannon and many current athletes are no longer willing to settle for a full scholarship and the glory of the games; they are asking for their share, and they’re doing so aggressively. In addition to O’Bannon’s lawsuit, 24 other legal actions are pending against the NCAA, all of them seeking a sharing of wealth in one form or another. In the most dramatic of the lawsuits, often referred to as the “Kessler case,” current players are seeking what was once unthinkable — an injunction that would eliminate the NCAA’s bar against paying salaries and force big-time football and basketball schools to pay players in addition to granting scholarships.
    While fighting to defend their organization and its core ideals of the student-athlete and amateurism, NCAA officials also are preparing to intervene in a historic proceeding before the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. The five-member board is reviewing a decision made in Chicago that Northwestern University football players are employees and can form a union.
    As if the mass of litigation and the unprecedented labor activism among college athletes were not enough, the NCAA is also the target of what may be a major reform effort in the U.S. Congress led by bipartisan group in the House of Representatives.
    “O’Bannon represents a watershed moment for the NCAA,” said Northeastern University School of Law professor Roger Abrams. “When combined with the Northwestern football team unionization effort, the case raises the question whether the NCAA must totally re-conceptualize its approach to regulating college athletics.”
    What is the case all about?
    From Kevin Trahan at SBNation … The O’Bannon case is a class-action antitrust lawsuit seeking an injunction. It claims the NCAA has violated antitrust law by not allowing athletes to receive money from their likeness, particularly in television deals. You’ll hear three of those words a lot: antitrust, injunction, and likeness. Here’s what they all mean in terms of this case.

    • Antitrust: The O’Bannon plaintiffs are alleging that the NCAA’s members are being anti-competitive by keeping all of their television revenues to themselves and not giving anything to the players, whom they claim are the primary revenue-generators. Since college sports are the only path to a pro career for athletes in many sports, the NCAA has no competition, and thus players have no leverage.
    • Injunction: An injunction means that a party has to stop doing what it’s doing. In this case, the NCAA would have to stop keeping revenue from the athletes if it loses.
    • Likeness: An athlete’s likeness is a reference to the use of his or her image. The O’Bannon suit alleges that it is illegal for the NCAA to use athletes’ images for profit — mostly by broadcasting games — without sharing that profit.
    The O’Bannon suit is basically a lawsuit against the NCAA that challenges its right to sell broadcasts without paying players anything. If the O’Bannon plaintiffs succeed in getting an injunction, then the NCAA will be forced to pay the players some sort of broadcast rights.
    However, the case hasn’t always taken this form. Initially, the O’Bannon plaintiffs were seeking damages and an injunction, but the damages portion was not certified by Judge Claudia Wilken, meaning the NCAA won’t have to pay past players for the use of their likeness. The plaintiffs were going to receive individual damages, but they decided not to, so they could have a bench trial decided by Wilken instead of a jury trial.
    What happens if the players win?
    The simple answer is that the players will receive a cut of the television revenue, but the process is much more complicated. The NCAA, conferences, and schools all have lucrative rights deals, and the players would be given a portion of money from those pools.
    It’s impossible to say the sum, but the NCAA alone made over $700 million off of just television revenue in 2012-13, so it would certainly be substantial. The O’Bannon plaintiffs are asking for up to half of that revenue, but it won’t necessarily get all of that appropriated to the players. The NCAA could potentially settle for a much more reasonable number and smaller changes to its rules, but it’s indicated it isn’t going to do that.
    The plaintiffs are asking for group licensing for players. Rather than each player getting paid on his or her market worth, the players would split revenues evenly, like the media rights deals in the professional leagues. They would likely do so through some sort of union.
    As far as the effects on college sports, there are wildly different perspectives. Some have said college sports would disappear, though that certainly won’t happen, because successful industries don’t just disappear. More likely, there would be changes to how non-revenue sports operate and a more open market for players.
    Following the trial
    As the trial progresses (it is expected to last three weeks), there will be updates under this thread here at CU at the Game. If you would like more immediate updates, there are a number of national reporters who will be covering the trial, and all have twitter accounts from which there will be regular updates:
    Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated (@Andy_Staples)
    Jon Solomon, CBS Sports (@JonSolomonCBS)
    Steve Berkowitz, USA Today (@ByBerkowitz)
    Rachel Bachman, The Wall Street Journal (@Bachscore)
    John Infante, The Bylaw Blog (@john_infante)
    Ben Strauss, The New York Times (@bstrauss1)

    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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  2. Burrito Palazzo

    Burrito Palazzo AnalExplosionDeathMatch Club Member

    Oct 8, 2010
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  3. Darian3Hagan

    Darian3Hagan '89 Player of the Year Club Member

    Dec 15, 2007
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    You know whats coming. Ducks on the pond boys!

    edit: YSSMRR
  4. TDbuff

    TDbuff Club Member Club Member

    Oct 9, 2005
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    Stewart Mandel from SI is live tweeting the proceedings. Stanford economist Roger Noll is on the stand now.




    Some okay arguments made there, but I would say although the competitive balance isn't great, it could be worse.

    And I hate this comparison that gets made all the time.


    There's some major differences there. The Olympics as a whole, are not a sports league. And the teams are decided by nationality(usually). There's no recruiting, there's no draft.

  5. TDbuff

    TDbuff Club Member Club Member

    Oct 9, 2005
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  6. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

    Mar 20, 2009
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    We could look at competitive balance and the most egalitarian of all sports leagues -- the NFL. Hard salary cap, equal revenue distribution, draft structure that gives the worst teams the best opportunity for the best young talent, compensation for losing talent to free agency, etc.

    And you still see certain franchises out-performing the norm and certain franchises under-performing the norm. Every team doesn't go 8-8. Pittsburgh and Dallas win a hell of a lot more than Cincinnati and Detroit.

    College sports is no different. And competitive balance can only be regulated to a certain degree. The deviation becomes a lot greater when the definition of "peer institutions" is made so broad that UCLA and UCSB are considered in the same division under the same rules.

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