Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

June 18, 2014

NCAA could become casualty of paid athletes

The time has come in Ed O’Bannon's class action, antitrust case against the NCAA when lawyers start nibbling their fingernails, those in charge of athletic departments feel their heartbeats climb, and athletes try to get a grip on how things will change if their side prevails.

The first week of the trial had attorneys for the plaintiffs arguing and presenting witnesses who suggested that athletes in big-time programs should be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses.

Now the NCAA's lawyers will make their presentation in U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken’s courtroom, claiming that colleges athletes are different from those on professional teams and their amateur status should be preserved.

The case, which was filed in 2009 and is being heard in Oakland, Calif., is expected to last about three weeks before Judge Wilken, and not a jury, hands down a decision. It will be a ruling that some have long sought and others have long feared.

So-called power conferences, which have prospered from lucrative television and marketing contracts, now find themselves defending an arrangement that enriches almost everyone except for those who play the games.

That situation is at the heart of the O’Bannon case.  Years after the star basketball player left UCLA, his likeness is still featured in video games that benefit his university but not him. Like every other college athlete, O’Bannon signed away his rights to future proceeds in exchange for a scholarship that included room, board, tuition and books.

Most courtroom observers think the NCAA is fighting a losing cause, especially when coaches like Alabama’s Nick Saban and Kentucky’s John Calipari are paid about $7 million annually, universities build athletic superstructures, and players don’t receive scholarships equal to the full cost of attending college. There’s just no way to defend a practice like that.

Change is in the offing. Harder to predict is how college sports will be reshaped in the next five or 10 years.

The athletic director at the University of West Virginia sent word last week warning “Mountaineer Nation” of difficult times if O'Bannon and the other plaintiffs prevail.

In a piece posted to the sports department’s website,  Oliver Luck wrote: “This case has the potential to change fundamentally the 100-year-old relationship between student-athletes and their universities.”

Luck said college athletics may evolve in ways none of us can imagine.

“My advice is to buckle up, Mountaineer fans, because the issues that will be resolved over the next few months, including O’Bannon, autonomy and full cost of attendance (players’ scholarships), very well may change the landscape in college athletics.”

If the plaintiffs prevail, what would be a fair outcome? If a college game is televised, who would share in the proceeds? Would the quarterback receive more money than a sub who rarely gets off the bench? How would women athletes be compensated when their contests don't draw the same large viewing audiences of their male counterparts? Title IX, which requires women athletes be treated in a like manner as their male counterparts, will likely be a consideration in any plan adopted by college administrators.

How about athletes who perform on so-called minor sports teams? How are they treated?

Then there are questions about how athletic programs run by schools outside the power conferences will fare in match-ups against better-funded schools, especially if their athletes are compensated differently? Would the NCAA, as we know it today, even exist in the future?

It is relatively easy to critique the injustices of the current system. It is much more difficult to image a revolutionized college sports operation and how it would operate.

This much we know: Big money has made a big mess out of something once considered sacred.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL's image

    Pro football training camps should be all about, well, football. But the talk around the NFL is about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension, Tony Dungy's indelicate remarks about Michael Sam and Jim Irsay's largesse. What kind of league is Roger Goodell running?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA Concussion Lawsuit-9 [THE GOSHEN NEWS] NCAA settles head-injury lawsuit via fund CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action head-injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer and

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Offense adapting to new arsenal ANDERSON — Dwayne Allen didn’t often recognize the Indianapolis Colts offense he was watching from the sideline last season.The third-year tight end suffered a season-opening hip injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, then watched as left guar

    July 30, 2014

  • Running back Rainey is released ANDERSON — Just days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning.The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later conf

    July 30, 2014

  • SPT GN140730 Kulp Former Jimtown coach Brent Kulp named GHS softball coach GOSHEN — When you find your calling in life you follow it, even if it means going back to a previous career. Brent Kulp understands this lesson.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Big Ten Media Days Football [Duplicate] Playoffs could create chances for Big Ten teams CHICAGO — As he watched the BCS championship game last season, Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook could not help but wonder: What if a playoff system were in place? Would the Spartans be playing for the biggest prize? No need to wonder anymore. T

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • USA Basketball-3 [Duplicate] Rose returns as U.S. basketball team opens camp LAS VEGAS — Derrick Rose says he feels old. The 25-year-old point guard's rigorous play on Monday during the U.S. basketball team's first practice dictated otherwise. "I was joking with Kyle Korver, I told him 'I'm getting old, man. I've got to stret

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Cardinals Cubs Baseball [THE GOSHEN NEWS] Stacked farm system offers Cubs hope DES MOINES, Iowa — It's tempting for Chicago Cubs fans to pay as much attention to Triple-A Iowa as the struggling big league club. Iowa's lineup is a daily reminder that Chicago's future might be as bright as any team in baseball. The recent promoti

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kulp is new Goshen softball coach Brent Kulp was hired as the new Goshen High School softball coach at Monday night’s school board meeting. He was a physical education and health teacher in the Baugo Community Schools for 18 years and head softball coach at Jimtown High School for 15 seasons. Under his direction, Jimtown earned five Northern State Conference championships, five sectional titles and two regional titles and his teams compiled an overall record of 285-133-1.

    July 28, 2014

  • SPT GN140728 City Championship6 GOLF: Strong front nine leads Toner to Goshen City Championship Sugg hed: Toner cruises to City Championship victory GOSHEN — Through the first eight holes, Scott Toner dominated the competition at the Goshen Men’s City Golf Championship at Black Squirrel Golf Club. He was already two-under, and had already gaine

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results