nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=acm50ieupgradebanner_112313 network-banner-empty upgradeBanner
Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Trial that could reshape college athletics begins

Calipari Compares NCAA To Crumbling Soviet Union

AP Sports Writer

Some believe it could upend the way college sports operate. Others say Ed O'Bannon's legal crusade against the NCAA already has.

Five years after the former UCLA star filed his antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, it goes to trial Monday in a California courtroom. The stakes are high in the biggest challenge yet to the NCAA's authority to operate college sports at a time when big money makes so-called "amateur" sports look an awful lot like the pros.

Here's a look at the issues surrounding the case:

Q: What is this trial about?

A: The NCAA is being sued by O'Bannon and others over the use of their images in broadcasts and video games without compensation. They will argue at trial that the NCAA has acted as a cartel in violation of federal antitrust laws by conspiring to keep players from making money while at the same time pocketing billions of dollars in big television contracts. The NCAA contends that rules on "amateurism" are necessary to retain competitive balance and that a successful lawsuit could create a free-for-all that will seriously damage college athletics.

Q: What are the plaintiffs asking for?

A: In the short term, not much. The 20 named plaintiffs dropped their demands for money in damages a few weeks before the trial in a strategic move to narrow the scope of the case. But they are asking for the judge to rule in their favor and issue an injunction that would prohibit the NCAA from enforcing rules against paying players for the use of their images in broadcasts. Lawyers for the plaintiffs will also argue they deserve reimbursement for legal fees that they said exceeded $30 million even before the trial. "Just to get to trial alone is huge," said Jon King, an attorney handling several related cases. "To obtain an injunction will be revolutionary."

Q: Why would a win be so important?

A: This is the first time a challenge to the way the NCAA operates has gotten this far. It is part of a broader effort to change the way major college sports are operated that includes several other lawsuits challenging various NCAA regulations and a unionization effort that won a vote for football players at Northwestern earlier this year. Plaintiffs and others claim that there is no real amateurism in a college sports industry where coaches make millions, administrators are well paid and everyone profits except the athletes providing the labor. "O'Bannon represents a watershed moment for the NCAA," said Northeastern University School of Law professor Roger Abrams, an expert in sports and antitrust law. "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."

Q: What will we find out during trial?

A: There will be a lot of testimony about the huge amounts of money coming into college sports, literally billions of dollars for the conferences and the NCAA from television rights deals. At least two conferences - The Big 12 and Conference USA - made last-minute challenges in court to keep their television deals secret, arguing they would be at a competitive disadvantage if other conferences and schools knew exactly what the terms of those deals are. There will also be testimony on the NCAA side about the many benefits athletes get while in college, including tuition, room and board, and tutors to help them get degrees.

Q: Will other athletes, say swimmers or golfers, get something from this?

A: No, the class-action suit is limited to football players and Division I basketball players. Those two sports are the biggest revenue generators for colleges.

Q: Why haven't they settled?

A: The NCAA says it can't budge on the fundamental question of paying players, because doing so would upend the model of college sports. The organization also believes many of the lawsuits are lawyer-driven and says athletes are treated better than ever and happier than ever. The plaintiffs did reach a separate settlement with videogame maker EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Co. for $40 million that will allow some payments to former players. The NCAA dismissed that by saying "the real benefactors of this settlement are the lawyers, who could pocket more than $15 million."

Q: Will this lead to pay-for-play in college sports?

A: Not right away, though the pressure brought by unionization attempts and lawsuits already has led to proposals for the five biggest college conferences to increase scholarship money and change other rules to benefit athletes. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the whole college sports system doesn't need to be blown up, but there are remedies that will help athletes prosper while at the same time keeping a structure to control college athletics. They're suggesting the establishment of a trust funded by the NCAA and its schools that would take money for the use of player images and dole it out to individual players - but only after they're done with school. "Notwithstanding the NCAA's conjecture that the sky will fall, an unfettered market will not bring college athletics to a halt," attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote in a trial brief.

Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
melina1201 June 09 2014 at 12:14 PM

They are getting paid... they are getting a free education out of the deal....Some kids aren't lucky enough to go to college...The greed is sickening.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
5 replies
dukesam07 June 09 2014 at 12:35 PM

He'll go down as the man who ruined college sports.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
ganderrrr dukesam07 June 09 2014 at 4:54 PM

Fine with me if colleges stick to their core mission of educating people. Sports are irrelevant.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
debij dukesam07 June 09 2014 at 6:00 PM

Ganderrrr, you don't even KNOW what anything about college athletics. Maybe you might have known something about them back in the day, but in today's college athletics, the student athletes have requirements in academics as well as in sports. They must go to class, must get a minimum of 2.0 (C) in the class (2.5 or c+ if it's their major), and do a daily study hall (only excuse not to be in the study hall is to have class or a game). They are required to stay in academic good standing or they risk their scholarship. Additionally, they have social responsibilities - if they act out or misbehave on campus, they can be taken off the team - which loses them their scholarship.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
elfoertsch June 09 2014 at 12:59 PM

This is supposed to be about being students first and athletes second. They get what is often the equivalent of over $50,000/year in schlorship and room and board, plus numerous travel opportunities. How many kids out of grade school have that coming to them. Only with a lot of student debt or mom and dad.
And then a lot of them use this opportunity as a quick step into the pros where they will make millions.
I have three suggestions to at least get a little away from the minor league for the pros and back to student athletes. 1. Make the coaches salary also contingent on the number of athletes who graduate. 2. And from the schools, every athlete who doesn't graduate in say six years, looses his school one schlorship. 3. Every athlete who leaves for the pros, loses his school one schlorship for every year of elegibility he would have left.
Just a few ideas I've had for some time.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
gizmo4257 elfoertsch June 09 2014 at 3:19 PM

they get while on the road 20 dollars a day for food....that's for breakfast , lunch and dinner...usually at fast food places because that is all they can afford.....so while the first lady is on her high horse promoting healthy choices our college athletes can afford nothing but. Also coaches and the schools are making hundreds of thousands a year in salary....they risk no injury....but the athletes should be happy with 30 or 40 thousand a year in scholarship? It is misleading to make that assumption because only a few players on a team are offered a full ride...

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
rb gizmo4257 June 09 2014 at 3:27 PM

85 players are on full scholarship. The rest are generally what they call preferred walk ons, whose tuition, room and board are covered by a combination of grants, scholarships for grades or for the major they are in, or a number of other types of financial aid, with the remainder covered by student loans. Teams normally have 100 players so, your assertion that only a few players on a team are offered a full ride is a little off.

Flag +1 rate up
gizmo4257 gizmo4257 June 09 2014 at 5:07 PM

I mean they get 20 dollars total to buy their 3 meals with

Flag 0 rate up
lafatme elfoertsch June 09 2014 at 4:20 PM

and what of the baseball player at AZ state who slid into 2nd base and broke his neck, paralyzing him for life? Where is his pro career? Why should he get nothing after giving his ability to walk to his college? Athletes take great risks for little reward. Sure, maybe a scholarship worth $50k if it's an expensive school but the majority of them go to state schools or small schools where tuition is much less.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Relevant Data June 09 2014 at 2:28 PM

Welcome to UCLA Incorporated where the students become union employees. The teachers were long ago unionized. Money is first, not education.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
ganderrrr Relevant Data June 09 2014 at 4:53 PM

College sports have nothing at all to do with education.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
debij Relevant Data June 09 2014 at 5:50 PM

Ganderrrr: I don't see why they aren't everything to do with education. They can't even be on a team unless they are in a degree program. Many are in sports management or Physical Education, some are in some other facet of education hoping to coach if they don't go to the leagues, but they can't play unless they actually go to classes and pass.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
o June 09 2014 at 2:35 PM

Ed OBannon will become the Curt Flood of college sports. The NCAA and college coachs are making billion per year off of free labor. Get sports out of college all together. Let the professional teams support tham and let college kids get an education and then a job without being 50k in debt.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
jj3755 o June 09 2014 at 3:16 PM

While Curt Flood was not good for sports, in my opinion, it was Catfish Hunter that ruined pro sports when he went free agent and won (I believe he was the second baseball player but the biggest name at the time). This is when I QUIT supporting sports. We can break this cycle by boycotting the sponsors of the sporting activities. Just call them and say you will quit watching sports but this willtake alot of people to accomplish.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
lafatme jj3755 June 09 2014 at 4:15 PM

I don't get your point. Are you saying the players are getting too much money now so you don't watch baseball? Ask yourself where that money would be if the players salaries were cut in half. The owners would simply make more profit. What's the difference which millionaire gets the money?

The fact is that there is a lot of money in sports today, a lot. None of that money is going to you or me whether we support a team or not. Go Angels!

Flag 0 rate up
babbtx jj3755 June 09 2014 at 6:50 PM

Catfish Hunter was declared a free agent by the courts when Charlie Findley refused to pay him a $50,000 that was SPECIFIED in his contract.

Flag 0 rate up
rb o June 09 2014 at 3:29 PM

Everyone says the NCAA makes billions each year from college athletics? So...who actually gets that money. I know the NCAA pays their employees a salary...but are they all millionaires? Or does most of the money made by the NCAA go back to the schools or toward research for player safety? I'd like to know what the NCAA really does with the money they make.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
tbplayer44 June 09 2014 at 4:40 PM

Be careful what you wish for... you just may get it. Colleges will stop athletic scholarships. stop free housing... free meals... free books for athletes... they will stop free medical care. Also remember that the schools own their names and logos, therefore they can prohibit these athletes from using these images in their personal marketing. They can prohibit names and numbers on jerseys. They can eliminate the sales of jerseys outright, and limit their school name or logo to being just tshirts, sweatshirts, etc. They can actually make like a lot rougher on athletes by restricting what the athletes can use for profit. The last thing America needs is more Unions. The Union is what is allowing our Veterans to suffer and die, and why we cannot punish those responsible.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Ray tbplayer44 June 09 2014 at 7:00 PM


Wow. So labor unions are the cause of all evil? The serpent in the garden of Eden, eh? College sports have gone far far away from the old days of "playing for pride" for the athlete's school, at least in football and basketball. This is a multi-billion dollar business, akin to farm teams for the pros.

My kids went to college for an education. Some played sports for fun, no athletic scholarships. If these young student athletes are being used to make huge amounts of money, why shouldn't they be compensated? The percentage of these kids who even get offers to be pros, let alone succeed at it, is incredibly low.

Learn a little bit about why labor unions were created in the first place. Whether it was in a coal mine or a factory, workers were getting taken advantage of.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
eulerckt June 09 2014 at 12:33 PM

Remove sports, other than the required PE classes from colleges. They are no more than expensive farm teams for the NFL, NBA, AL, etc. More and more 'student' athletes don't even bother to attend class.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
debij eulerckt June 09 2014 at 5:55 PM

Many colleges and universities have degree programs in Physical Education - teaching students how to teach PE in elementary and secondary schools, as well as coaching football, basketball, and baseball as well as other sports like soccer, lacross, field hockey. So they will have physical education majors. Most of the student athletes major in PE or sports management - which can include how to coach, and how to work with sports teams. A student athlete is required to not only attend classes but to pass them. The school where I work has had many student athletes with 4.0 averages in academic areas. In addition to the NCAA requiring them to attend classes, and pass, they also require a certain number of hours in a study hall.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
arnold.smith2027 June 09 2014 at 4:51 PM

Revoke or discontinue future scholarships other than for pure educational purposes. If an athlete wants to participate in a sport so be it. Most gifted athletes aren't interested in the education anyway. Only about 1% of athletes that receive scholarships ever make to the professional level anyway.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bigcatdaddy June 09 2014 at 4:45 PM

Effective immediately all scholarships and freebies should be canceled.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
artex1836 June 09 2014 at 5:25 PM

But if you ended the College scholarship free ride for athletes, how would all those that wanted to get paid market themselves for the pros? Most of the players are a rags to riches opportunity story thanks to those same old evil NCAA schools that provide them an education,teach them marketing, and provide a venue to promote their talents at no cost to the athlete.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
aol~~ 1209600



World Series

More From Our Partners