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What we're learning about college sports at NCAA trial


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When interviewing a college administrator, coach or athlete, every sportswriter has at one time or another thought, "If only I could get these people under oath."

That's exactly what has happened the past two weeks in Oakland, Calif., during the trial concerning the lawsuit filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon against the NCAA over NILs, i.e. names, images and likenesses of athletes used by the NCAA in both television broadcast rights and marketing.

O'Bannon believes student-athletes are entitled to the money that comes from those NILs. The NCAA argues paying players would violate the body's core values of amateurism.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken expects to wrap up the bench trial this week before rendering her decision at a later date. That decision is sure to be appealed.

However, after the trial's first two weeks, news accounts have given us some interesting tidbits. Here are six:

1. The NCAA itself suspected that there could be a future legal problem with using players' names, images and likenesses.

Read more: http://www.gogamecocks.com/2014/06/21/599952/john-clay-what-were-learning-about.html

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Ya, the BCS took care of that loooong ago. They have their foot on our throat and are looking for a way administer the crushing blow.

No, for an anti trust suit against the BCS (when it existed) and the NCAA for supporting said BCS. There is a difference between free market competition and what happen in college football under the

I feel like this should scare the pants off the NFL. They are very close to having a new league competing against them and one that you could argue would have more passionate, loyal fans. Perhaps, t

Man this case is heating up. I just read the latest from SI and there is another potential bombshell which is evidently bigger than the O'Bannon piece,,,, here is an excerpt of a telling statement from the plaintiff's lawyer and link to the SI article:

"The Defendants and their member institutions have lost their way far down the road of commercialism, signing multibillion dollar contracts wholly disconnected from the interests of 'student athletes,' who are barred from receiving the benefits of competitive markets for their services even though their services generate these massive revenues," plaintiffs' attorneys wrote in their initial complaint. "As a result of these illegal restrictions, market forces have been shoved aside and substantial damages have been inflicted upon a host of college athletes whose services have yielded riches only for others. This class action is necessary to end the NCAA's unlawful cartel, which is inconsistent with the most fundamental principles of antitrust law."

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140618/obannon-vs-ncaa-jenkins-mark-emmert-claudia-wilken/#ixzz35OBqM51b

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I liked this one:

"NCAA attorneys have suggested paying athletes would lead to a competitive imbalance, where the richer schools got all the best athletes. But Rascher said big and smaller schools rarely compete for the same athletes now and, when they do, the big schools almost always win.

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/06/22/3122782/college-recruiting-next-promise.html#storylink=cpy

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I liked this one:

"NCAA attorneys have suggested paying athletes would lead to a competitive imbalance, where the richer schools got all the best athletes. But Rascher said big and smaller schools rarely compete for the same athletes now and, when they do, the big schools almost always win.

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/06/22/3122782/college-recruiting-next-promise.html#storylink=cpy

Ya, the BCS took care of that loooong ago. They have their foot on our throat and are looking for a way administer the crushing blow.

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"The Defendants and their member institutions have lost their way far down the road of commercialism, signing multibillion dollar contracts wholly disconnected from the interests of 'student athletes,' who are barred from receiving the benefits of competitive markets for their services even though their services generate these massive revenues," plaintiffs' attorneys wrote in their initial complaint. "As a result of these illegal restrictions, market forces have been shoved aside and substantial damages have been inflicted upon a host of college athletes whose services have yielded riches only for others. This class action is necessary to end the NCAA's unlawful cartel, which is inconsistent with the most fundamental principles of antitrust law."[

I don't think any logical argument can be made against that. It will take years (decades?) to sort it all out. But the NCAA will not be standing at the end of it.

I worry about what this means for schools like North Texas. The P5 schools like Texas have a huge advantage against us, that is partially mitigated by NCAA rules. Scholarship limits, not being able to have athlete only dorms, making them at least have some scholastic responsibility, not being able to pay them directly. When the NCAA goes, so does that.

You may think, "well Cerebus, we never got the athletes they wanted anyway." That true, but there was a scholarship limit. Without that Texas can go out and sign 100 people a year. They can afford it, why not get every single athlete that might possibly have some talent. The ones that don't work out, cut as many of them as you want. And then sign 100 the next year.

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Without that Texas can go out and sign 100 people a year. They can afford it, why not get every single athlete that might possibly have some talent. The ones that don't work out, cut as many of them as you want. And then sign 100 the next year.

Isn't that how it used to be way back when?

Edited by oldguystudent
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Isn't that how it used to be way back when?

Yes, but back then they couldn't openly pay them, and tell them not to go to classes.

Newsflash: The P5 aren't going to pay this huge money to FB/MBB and then worry about balancing the money for Title IX. They will make the players employees, bypassing Title IX entirety.

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Everything I am reading seems to indicate the outcome to be that the players will get more money in the form of a trust they can access after they graduate and the big schools who generate the dollars will be the ones who will receive and dole out the dollars to their players (ie not subsidizing the rest of the smaller schools). The NCAA is right in saying that it will screw up the game as we know it, but of course they have know this was coming and did absolutely nothing but try to line their own pockets for as long as they could. The interesting thing is it will dig into the obscene revenues that have been generated for the p5 through ESPN etc which will impact the budgets at the big schools. I just don't know how much this impacts us. We were never in the game against the UT's and the A&M's of the world on recruits anyway so does it really impact us that much in the end?

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I just don't know how much this impacts us. We were never in the game against the UT's and the A&M's of the world on recruits anyway so does it really impact us that much in the end?

Exactly what a Boise State fan might have said 10 years ago. And are we a program on the rise, or are we not? Who knows what might lie around the corner for us if we're at least given the opportunity?

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Everything I am reading seems to indicate the outcome to be that the players will get more money in the form of a trust...

Sure. If the NCAA loses the O'Bannon case. The Jenkin's case is a whole different ball of wax.

Losing the O'Bannon case would mean schools might have to budget differently if they lose a chunk of broadcast revenue to the players, but the schools in the Power Five were already planning on giving more money to the players. Also, the ability of players to market their own names could change recruiting a bit, but a lot of the rules would remain in place and unchanged.

Losing the Jenkins case could mean that the NCAA could no longer enforce scholarship limits or the amount schools could pay for scholarships. It would be an open market, and the finances could change considerably.

We were never in the game against the UT's and the A&M's of the world on recruits anyway so does it really impact us that much in the end?

See:

You may think, "well Cerebus, we never got the athletes they wanted anyway." That true, but there was a scholarship limit. Without that Texas can go out and sign 100 people a year. They can afford it, why not get every single athlete that might possibly have some talent. The ones that don't work out, cut as many of them as you want. And then sign 100 the next year.

If the above happens and UT/A&M/OU etc can use the big TV money to suck up every single player who might be a possible D1 athlete (And why not? They can fire them next season if they don't like them, yes they can do that now, but they are limited by the 25 man a year scholarship limit) the then we are fighting SLC teams for the leftovers.

ETA: Oh, and we do manage to sign a great kid they over looked? Well then UT can offer him a job.

Edited by Cerebus
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ETA: Oh, and we do manage to sign a great kid they over looked? Well then UT can offer him a job.

I hadn't thought about that, but boy if UT is able to offer the top players in the g5 (us) with a transfer carrot of $350K trust this whole thing goes to crap. Surely they will have to impose some restrictions on transfer eligibility... this thing is really a double edged sword. On the one hand, I want the greedy NCAA and power schools to have to pony up some of the millions but on the other hand I don't want to see them radically alter a game I enjoy watching so much...

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I hadn't thought about that, but boy if UT is able to offer the top players in the g5 (us) with a transfer carrot of $350K trust this whole thing goes to crap. Surely they will have to impose some restrictions on transfer eligibility... this thing is really a double edged sword. On the one hand, I want the greedy NCAA and power schools to have to pony up some of the millions but on the other hand I don't want to see them radically alter a game I enjoy watching so much...

I don't think the P5 will be in the NCAA if the Jenkins case is lost. Why have to spend all that money on Title IX? Keep your non revenue sports in the NCAA, move the money makes to some new body, where they can make every single rule.

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There's something I still can't reconcile. The vast, vast majority of North Texas football fans are rampant, near religious supporters of unregulated, absolute free market including, but not limited to, the growth of entities to the point of virtual monopoly. The one exception to this rule being college football. Why?

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There's something I still can't reconcile. The vast, vast majority of North Texas football fans are rampant, near religious supporters of unregulated, absolute free market including, but not limited to, the growth of entities to the point of virtual monopoly. The one exception to this rule being college football. Why?

Are those same fans calling for the U.S. government to intervene to stop the growth of entities in college football?

Edited by Mean Green 93-98
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Are those same fans calling for the U.S. government to intervene to stop the growth of entities in college football?

No, for an anti trust suit against the BCS (when it existed) and the NCAA for supporting said BCS.

There is a difference between free market competition and what happen in college football under the BCS system. Pretty much complete opposites.

Edited by UNT90
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No, for an anti trust suit against the BCS (when it existed) and the NCAA for supporting said BCS.

I don't think they were supporting the BCS as much as afraid the power leagues would leave if they tried to interfere with it.

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I don't think they were supporting the BCS as much as afraid the power leagues would leave if they tried to interfere with it.

No doubt. They liked those $800,000 ass whippings.

It has been completely about money from about 1990 forward. Grab as much as you can from the real president of the NCAA, which is ESPN, and screw anyone that gets in your way.

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C-USA Commissioner Banowsky testifies today...

O'Bannon v. NCAA: Do schools make or lose money on sports?

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The last week of the O'Bannon v. NCAA trial began with a debate over math: Do Division I colleges make or lose money on sports? Answering this seemingly straightforward question proved impossible during Monday's hearing. Two witnesses for the NCAA, NCAA research director Todd Petr and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, testified. Both sparred with O'Bannon's attorneys over how revenue should be defined.

According to the NCAA calculations, Division I colleges spend about $12 billion a year on sports, but only receive about $6 billion in revenue. Per the calculations, the average annual deficit of a DI program is approximately $12 million. NCAA calculations indicate that merely a couple dozen schools are profitable; the rest are in the red. The central theme was clear: College sports may be lucrative, but they are not profitable. This is an important legal point, because one core factor to the NCAA's antitrust thesis is that academics and athletics are intertwined. If colleges lose money on sports, it would suggest that sports do not drive institutional decisions by college presidents and that student-athletes are not more important to schools than other students.

O'Bannon's attorneys raised two key arguments against the NCAA's definition of revenue. First was to question the underlying data. While Petr vouched for the NCAA's data on revenue and expenses, he admitted during cross-examination that the NCAA relies on reporting by individual schools and interpretation by Transylvania University professor Dan Fulks, whom the NCAA retains for computation of data. O'Bannon's lawyers attempted to undermine the NCAA's data by asserting that the NCAA does not verify -- or even fully understand -- the financial numbers it shares with the public.


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Telling paragraph from Banowsky's testimony:

Banowsky also stressed that if O'Bannon wins, "teams with the best players would win more consistently than they do now." Competitive balance is core part of the NCAA's antitrust defense. According to the NCAA, amateurism rules prevent college sports from waging a spending war that would advantage a relatively small number of schools and conferences but also make sports too expensive for many schools. In the absence of these rules, a small number of teams would dominate whereas many colleges would downsize or outright eliminate sports. Banowsky went so far as to say football programs could be cut at Conference USA schools if student-athletes could negotiate their name, image and likeness.

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"If you concentrated the best players at schools with the best resources, over time it would have a negative competitive impact," Banowsky said.

The plaintiffs charge that such an imbalance already exists and that schools are already benefiting from revenues that have, in some cases, increased by 50 percent or more over the last 10 years.

The Big 12, for example, received $23.7 million from NCAA money generated from the March Madness tournament. The America East conference got just $1.7 million.

Rosenthal grilled Banowsky about the lack of success teams from C-USA had against the power conferences, and got the commissioner to admit that some schools have left the conference in hopes of joining a BCS conference for more exposure and money.

read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2014/06/23/ed-obannan-antitrust-case-vs-ncaa-day-11/11266275/

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