I’m not in agreement with those who accuse the NCAA of running a plantation system when it comes to student-athletes. No, it’s more like the experience you get at a car dealership.
NCAA President Mark Emmert testified last March he doesn’t think signing the form is a requirement for an athlete to participate in an NCAA-sanctioned event.
“I don’t know of an incident where that’s been an issue,” Emmert said. “I believe it’s the case that there is not a formal requirement, but I’m not completely sure of that.”
David Berst, an NCAA Division I vice president, testified the form is voluntary and that he has never been told some schools tell athletes they’re ineligible for a scholarship if they don’t sign.
“I’d be pleased to ensure that it’s clearly understood that you have a choice,” Berst said. “I frankly can’t imagine that any student-athlete would not want to be helping and be the one who might be depicted as promoting the next game. But if they don’t want to be, no, I’m fine with that. It makes sense to me.”
An Ithaca College survey of 213 Division I compliance officers found that 20 percent have witnessed athletes who did not want to sign part or all of the Student-Athlete Statement. When the survey asked if the document giving the NCAA promotional rights is necessary for an athlete’s eligibility, 80 percent of compliance officers said it is not.
“Many said that it really doesn’t have anything to do with eligibility apart from the fact that (compliance officers say) in order to be eligible athletes must sign that form,” then-Ithaca College sport management professor Ellen Staurowsky told The Birmingham News in 2011. ”That’s a very interesting way of explaining things.”
Now there’s your understatement of the day.
What I love most about the O’Bannon lawsuit are the admissions the plaintiffs are drawing out in discovery. The NCAA’s position on commercial control and amateurism is so illogical it leads to statements like this:
Then came another hypothetical: What if Kentucky spontaneously issues $100,000 each to its starting five basketball players who won the 2012 NCAA title and now play in the NBA given that their names and images will be used on commercial products in the future? Berst said it’s “not inconceivable” that scenario could be permitted if there was no promise of sharing that money and no current athletes’ eligibility is impacted.
“I think Kentucky can end up paying whatever student-athletes are due for use of their likenesses when they’re no longer student-athletes by virtue of whatever those business kinds of arrangements are that are understood and reasonable by all of the lawyers,” Berst said.
That noise you heard was university presidents across the country crapping their pants.
By the way, John Infante, who should know, says that all this voluntary talk is hogwash.
… The promotional rights section of the Student-Athlete Statement is Section IV. This is from the instructions on the first page:
If you are an incoming freshman, you must complete and sign Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VII to participate in intercollegiate competition. If you are an incoming transfer student or a continuing student, you must complete and sign Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VI to participate in intercollegiate competition.
There appears to be little wiggle room for a student-athlete to opt out.
Essentially, Emmert is making this up as he goes along, to avoid the consequences of a policy his organization enforces. Gee, why does that sound familiar?