Steve Patterson, still rolling.

The biggest jerk in college athletics simply cannot believe what a bunch of ingrates college athletes are.  In fact, he’s mad as hell and isn’t going to suffer in silence.  Which is a shame, because this is how Steve Patterson goes about making a case:

First, you lie.

“It’s interesting when you look at the objections of the plaintiffs in the case; we address all of them,” Patterson said. “If our athletes get hurt, we pay all their medical bills. If they want to come back and graduate, we pay for them to come back and graduate. We do everything that they say they wanted.”

Next, you impugn their motives.

Patterson, who oversees an annual athletic budget of roughly $170 million, said the “whole thing smells of guys in the legal profession looking for a fee.”

Patterson directed that comment towards sports labor lawyer Jeff Kessler, who last month filed an antitrust claim against the NCAA and the five largest conferences in New Jersey federal court, hoping to represent all scholarship players in college basketball and football players.

Kessler is arguing for a more free market in which schools can offer more than a scholarship to win over a player’s services.

Then, you wrap it up with some over the top righteous indignation.

“Guys like Jeff Kessler are trying to destroy the college system to get a percentage or a fee,” Patterson said. “If they do that, they’ll be destroying the greatest thing to happen to the college system aside from the G.I. Bill.”

Yeah, how dare Kessler try to get a little money for himself and his clients.  Doesn’t he know guys like Patterson have worked hard for that scratch by doing their own share of damage to the college system realigning conferences, whoring out to television, lengthening the regular season and postseason, etc.?  If anybody’s gonna squeeze that golden goose, it’ll be Steve “Let’s Play ‘Em In Dubai” Patterson.

Patterson did admit Thursday that he felt the NCAA and the schools were losing the public relations battle.

No shit, Sherlock.  I wonder how that’s happened.

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41 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

41 responses to “Steve Patterson, still rolling.

  1. Deutschland Domiciliary Dog

    The NCAA doesn’t realize it’s being creamed in the PR battle.

  2. Dog in Fla

    Canzano: “Patterson grew paranoid.”

  3. 69Dawg

    Oh well as they say ignorance is bliss. They are giving a whole new meaning to “Ivory Tower”.

  4. OrlandoDoawg

    College AD’s have quickly become the poster boys for waking up on third base and thinking they hit a triple.

  5. Russ

    He’s a dick, but I have to agree that the only reason Kessler is interested is the large potential fee. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we don’t need to pretend that Kessler cares more about the SAs than Patterson does.

    • Dawgoholic

      I don’t think Kessler needs the money. He could probably find much more profitable things to do with his time.

    • Is there some rule that a fee is proof that a lawyer doesn’t believe in his client’s case?

      • Normaltown Mike

        I’ll give you the answer after you pay my $200 consultation fee.
        ;)

      • Deutschland Domiciliary Dog

        You’d better believe in your clients’ case if you take it on a contingency fee basis.

      • AusDawg85

        Please…he is a hired gun, sought out this case, and wants to add the NCAA to his sports mantel. Any claim he would make to “it’s about the children” is as hollow as when the NCAA says it.

        In October, Kessler’s group announced its intention to begin pursuing lawsuits on behalf of college players with a focus on compensation related to the $16 billion in television contacts. That move came less than a week after the announcement of a proposed settlement in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust lawsuit — the one the Arizona players had joined — in which Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company agreed to pay $40 million to be removed from the claim. The settlement left the NCAA as the lone remaining defendant, with NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy vowing to take its argument to the Supreme Court if necessary. emphasis added)

        What’s the definition of ambulance chasing?

        There are NO white knights in this debacle…let’s all be clear on that.

        • Hank

          +1. The more people that feel like they deserve a handful of that pot of gold, the better the odds that congress will get involved. Interesting how he is only “hopeful” (from the article above) to get football and basketball players, in the best interest of getting them paid their market value. What exactly is the market value of a 17 year old, unproven football or basketball player? I wonder how much more we would have had to pay to get Crowell than Gurley, based on their perceived value. It would have included a lawyer/union fee you can bet your a$$ – because they are getting the players off the plantation and out of the slave like conditions they are currently forced to endure.

        • If “there are no white knights” in this situation — which, for the record, I happen to agree with — then what gives the NCAA’s hired guns any more moral or ethical credibility than the players’?

        • C.S.

          Well, I would argue that the public’s obsession with purity is what got everyone into this debacle. The NCAA created and sold a particular idea of purity (“amateur”, “student-athlete”) precisely so they could continue to take advantage of teenagers. And people bought it — I could probably theorize about the reasons, but they certainly bought it. College athletics is a big business precisely because it is held up in contrast to professional sports. Why else would someone pay good money to watch inferior basketball and football, if not for the wholesome patina of purity? That you despair that there is no “white knight” and deride Kessler as an “ambulance chaser” is part and parcel of the whole problem.

          And whatever you think of his motives, Kessler is one of the best lawyers in the U.S., period. And he’s recognized as such. And he was recognized as such long before he filed this suit. He’s a top partner at one of the most respected international firms in the world, and he didn’t need this case to make his bones, and he certainly doesn’t need to chase ambulances, whether literal or figurative.

          Antitrust cases have statutory treble damages for a reason — it’s a public policy decision. For one thing, the federal government doesn’t want to be the sole policeman of the market, because that raises the risk of agency capture. They also probably don’t mind too much that it’s the lawyers who bring these suits who get the insults that otherwise would be directed towards the government.

          So I fail to see why anyone longs for a “white knight” here (or anywhere). If you’re going to farm out a government’s regulatory function to the private sector, you sure as hell have to make it profitable. So yes, Kessler is certainly in it for the money, because that’s the entire point of setting up the system in this manner. His motives are exactly what the system sets out to reward, so that the market as a whole can benefit. So in that sense, his motives are unimpeachably pure.

          But he ain’t an ambulance chaser.

          • AusDawg85

            “That you despair that there is no “white knight” and deride Kessler as an “ambulance chaser” is part and parcel of the whole problem.”

            Just…wow.

            So this is all the fans fault? I’ll leave that whole debate for another day as there is both some truth and a lot of absurdity in that position (and for the record, I find college football superior to the NFL for far more reasons than the purity of the student-athletes).

            I show no despair there is not a white knight…just refusing to buy-in that Kessler is acting as one on behalf of the children. It is precisely because of his credentials/experience in this area he’s jumped into the fray…and the fact that the “system” is designed to incent the Winston firm to chase…err…bring class-action claims is hardly a worthy defense of his character or motives. The forces supporting the player’s rights wanted to hire a Top Gun…they’ve got him. Let’s not paint Mr. Kessler as some hero of the cause, however, as he too will be a part of the demise of major college sports as we know it. (He said so himself, albeit not claiming “demise” but “improvement”…we shall see.)

            We can likely agree that the change is needed and necessary. Change that should have come from within. Change that should improve rather than destroy. This is increasingly unlikely to happen, especially with the likes of Mr. Kessler AND the NCAA Leadership involved.

            But I forgot…rooting for the success of my Alma Mater and kids like Aaron Murray and Chris Conley on the football field is the core reason I am responsible for sending the lawyers into the courtroom and settlement meetings to fight over the dollars I spend.

            On behalf of fans everywhere, I apologize.

            • The forces supporting the player’s rights wanted to hire a Top Gun…

              What’s that supposed to mean?

              • AusDawg85

                What…the word “forces” bothers you? NCPA, CAPA are supporting the case. Mr. Kessler’s clients are the NFLPA and NBA player’s union who…just may…have an opinion about all of this, and, of course, the players in the class action suit themselves (for which I’ll be stunned if they’ve actually even spoken to Mr. Kessler in person). The named players in the suit didn’t find Kessler on Google. Either their counsel called Kessler, or Kessler called them (counsel) smelling the opportunity. But I’ll go where you think I’m going anyway…shadowy “forces” are certainly the Winston & Strawn firm and anyone working with them to get a piece of the pie. (cue creepy music) (I also know this to be true because I watch “Suits” and read Grisham novels.)

                Or was it the phrase “Top Gun”? Anyone on the litigation side of the players would want the best counsel, and has you and CS have pointed-out, there probably is no better.

                And before someone tries to paint me in a box, let me be clear: The NCAA is wrong, has been wrong, and letting greed carry them to this stage is exactly what has prompted the entrance of Kessler and others. No good can come of this, and while only a year ago or so (pre O’ Bannon) I would chuckle at your assertion that you would stop writing this blog when “they” ruined college football…c’mon man, how could “they” screw this up?! I now not only understand, but expect it to happen much sooner than anyone can possibly imagine (2015 season?).

                Senator…is it really your contention that Jeff Kessler is selflessly involved to help the players? That his success in court/settlement table will salvage college sports in general, football in particular? (Again, Kessler assets that is his mission.)

                • C.S.

                  [I]s it really your contention that Jeff Kessler is selflessly involved to help the players?

                  I don’t know about the Senator, but my contention is that selflessness has nothing to do with anything. It doesn’t affect the merits of the case, it doesn’t reflect on Kessler’s ethics or morality, and it doesn’t alter anything about the NCAA’s position. And if he is motivated purely by greed . . . well, that’s actually better, because that’s precisely the human motive that antitrust law is trying to harness for the greater good. If true, it would show the system has a chance of working.

                • Have you bothered to look at the relief Kessler is seeking in the suit he filed?

                  Per ESPN:

                  By contrast, the Kessler suit dispenses with the cost-of-attendance argument and does not ask for damages as a group. It simply states that no cap is legal in a free market and asks the judge to issue an injunction against the NCAA ending the practice. It contends that NCAA member universities are acting as a cartel by fixing the prices paid to athletes, who presumably would receive offers well in excess of tuition, room, board and books if not restricted by NCAA rules.

                  Kessler is seeking damages for the four individual plaintiffs, but even with trebled damages, that’s not exactly major bucks for a guy like Kessler.

                  You tell me – does that really sound like ambulance chasing?

                  BTW, why would the pro players’ unions care about this?

                  • C.S.

                    Although we’re on the same side of this argument, Senator, I think you might wanna click on the link in that article that’ll give you the actual complaint. They’re asking for treble damages for the four named plaintiffs, but also – separately – attorneys fees for “Plaintiffs and the class they represent.” Also, I think the damages for the four named plaintiffs would be greater than you let on.

                    It’s not ambulance chasing, but it ain’t goodness-of-the-heart either. And a fine time to repeat my point that motives don’t matter. At all.

                    • AusDawg85

                      Well C.S….great minds think and react a little alike!

                    • I said before that motives aren’t important here.

                      Treble damages for four kids based on the difference between the value of their schollys and their market value might climb into the low seven figures. Relatively speaking, not that much. The attorney’s fees would be more. But a 1/3 cut of class damages would be way more than either.

                  • AusDawg85

                    Matlock taught me to pay attention to stuff like this little bit o’reading here: http://a.espncdn.com/pdf/2014/0317/NCAA_lawsuit.pdf

                    Yes, he’s representing 4 players……along with the class members whom the players seek to represent… The complaint is addressing the billions being made by the cartel of the NCAA. C’mon Senator…he’s in it for the $$$ a class action settlement will earn, not just for the rights of 4 players. And just because, as C.S. argues, that’s the way the system works, I choose to believe his involvement is for the well-being of the Winston firm first, his “clients” thereafter. It’s just bidness, man. Still smells like he’s chasing that flashing EMS light to me. Look how fast he jumped-in after the proposed O’Bannon settlement was announced. Of course he was watching, preparing and waiting on the sidelines ready to pounce at the right moment. Or would you have us believe he was just sitting at home, minding his own business, when the phone suddenly rang with Messrs Jenkins, Moore, Perry and Tyndall on the line? At least whatever result the players get (which won’t necessarily be the best result for all student-athletes, just the one that is negotiated for them) is being driven by one of the best. Hooray.

                    And I don’t really know what the pro player’s unions have to say about all of this, but either Mr. Kessler is telling them, or they are telling him. With you and others explaining that he’s one of the best, I doubt he’s failing to look out for the interest of all his client’s. Or himself.

                  • AusDawg85

                    To the Senator’s comment about how “I know” the NFLPA cares. Well, of course I don’t know in the biblical sense, but The Union that sponsors this https://www.nflplayers.com/Articles/NFLPA-Collegiate-Bowl/NFLPA-Collegiate-Bowl-Prospective-Player-FAQ/

                    And has this as their mission statement: “What is the NFLPA?
                    The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) is a non-profit, professional sports union that protects the best interests and welfare of all NFL players. Established in 1956, the NFLPA’s responsibilities include: Representing all players in matters concerning wages, hours and working conditions and protecting their rights as professional football players; ensuring that the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement are met; negotiating and monitoring retirement and insurance benefits; providing other member services and activities; providing assistance to charitable and community organizations; and enhancing and defending the image of players and their profession, on and off the field.”

                    …is most certainly interested in the outcome of college players becoming paid professionals and unionized. If they are not speaking to their attorney about the implications of these cases, then someone’s not doing there job. As I stated before, I don’t find Mr. Kessler the type to fail to do his job.

            • C.S.

              So this is all the fans fault?

              Well, they certainly should share in a lot of the blame. I would stop short of laying it all at their feet, however. But there’s a reason the NCAA has been able to take advantage of kids for so long, and it isn’t because they were sooooo good at hiding the truth. People tut-tutted, and shook their heads, and discussed maybe throwing a few more bucks the kids’ way, but they packed the stadiums and tuned into the bowl games and threw March Madness parties anyway. So yeah, there’s quite a bit of blame to share.

              . . . and for the record, I find college football superior to the NFL for far more reasons than the purity of the student-athletes).

              Really? I mean, I don’t doubt that you mayprefer college ball to the NFL, but come on . . . “superior”? I mean, sure, in some cases the fan experience may be superior, and with hundreds of colleges playing football, there’s more opportunity to actually attend a live game. But football-superior? As in, you think the actual football is played better?

              I don’t doubt that your love of college football (although I suspect that love dissipates rapidly the further from Athens the game takes place) trumps whatever pleasure you get from watching pro football. But its ridiculous to say it’s better football. It’s “better” because of other affiliations we have with it — usually (although not always) beginning with the fact that we went to the school. That’s not a bad thing — but it does tend to cause us to turn a blind eye to problems, or ignore them or explain them away.

              And if there’s one thing the NCAA has done a really great job of, it is capitalizing on this tendency. It creates words out of whole cloth (“student-athlete”) and essentially sells them to fans as a guidepost to help them explain away the dissonance.

              We can likely agree that the change is needed and necessary . . .

              Yep.

              Change that should have come from within . . .

              You bet.

              Change that should improve rather than destroy . . .

              Still with you.

              This is increasingly unlikely to happen.

              Whoa.

              It may be unlikely. I’ll even go so far as to say it’s extremely unlikely. But it’s a hell of a lot more likely today than it was before the O’Bannon case was filed, before the Northwestern decision, before Napier’s comments, and before Kessler got involved. The NCAA likes the present model. The NCAA wants to keep the present model. The NCAA (and its members) make bank on the present model. The NCAA has fought tooth and nail to keep the present model without any changes. It was never going to change one bit. Saying that the change should come from within is correct but meaningless, because it was never, not ever going to come from within. Ever. It had to come from pressure. It had to come from lawsuits, because that’s the only pressure available. It is naive to think that there was any other avenue available, and given that reality, lamenting the fact that there are no good guys is simply a rhetorical dodge to avoid facing the fact that there are actual bad guys . . . and they aren’t Colter, O’Bannon, or Kessler.

              • AusDawg85

                I do get your position (and enjoy the debate). We’re more aligned on this than not, except for a few points. I’m entitled to my opinion that the college game is more exciting than the NFL…better story lines, more diversity in the action, more meaning to the fans. If your only definition of better quality football is watching “superior” athletes, then you must really enjoy the Pro Bowl and all that it delivers. (joking) Give me the option to see Georgia vs. any SEC opponent or go see the Falcons (or for me, the Cowboys) vs. anybody and I’m taking the Dawgs every time. The NFL is too sterile…could care less that the athletes are more skilled.

                And I will continue to insist…Kessler is not one of the good guys. He’s a bad guy too, playing his part in the drama. I don’t believe he will negotiate for the players for one second when the NCAA starts putting settlement money on the table. He’s just able to conveniently wrap himself around the children and is merely the foil to which the players must stand behind in order to get some recognition of their own. You apparently love/admire/respect the system…I think it’s lousy, but simply better than the alternatives.

                I want to debate the whole “..its the fans fault.” issue some other time. Hard to defend my innocence when I have an entire game room set-up as a sports shrine. ;-)

                • C.S.

                  I’m entitled to my opinion that the college game is more exciting than the NFL…

                  Indeed you are. But I believe our point of contention was not excitement, but the actual quality of football. At least, that was my point in my initial post — without the attendant emotional filigree, which the idea of the “student-athlete” plays into, college football couldn’t rake in the money it does, because the pro game is simply better “football.” I’m not commenting on the quality of the experience or the passion of the fans. Similarly, pro basketball is better “basketball” than college, pro baseball better “baseball,” pro tennis better “tennis,” pro golf better “golf,” etc.

                  If your only definition of better quality football is watching “superior” athletes, then you must really enjoy the Pro Bowl and all that it delivers. (joking)

                  Not my point at all, and not my definition of better quality football either. The quality of the athletes plays into it, but the NFL is better football, full stop. I may prefer, as you do, “Georgia vs. any SEC opponent,” but that preference isn’t based on football quality, and I’m fine with that. Similarly, that I would rather watch Georgia v. Tennessee over Oregon v. Stanford doesn’t change the fact that, over the last few years anyway, Stanford and Oregon have played much better football than either the Dawgs or Tennessee (most certainly Tennessee). Put another way, once you remove the rooting interest, do you still prefer college ball? Would you rather watch Minnesota v. Northwestern over Vikings v. Bears? Arizona State v. Washington over Cardinals v. Seahawks? The Rose Bowl over the AFC Championship? Maybe you do, but I bet it’s a much closer call.

                  And I will continue to insist…Kessler is not one of the good guys.

                  As I will continue to insist that his moral purity is immaterial. What he’s doing is necessary to change the system. I couldn’t care less what his motives are. And as I keep saying, private antitrust law is based on the assumption that people will be motivated by greed. In the antitrust context, we want lawyers to be greedy. We depend on them being greedy. When there’s an antitrust violation, we don’t want lawyers of Kessler’s quality saying “well, it’s a pretty good case, but even if we win I’m not sure it’d be worth my time.” We want them saying “Treble damages? Sign me up!”

                  You apparently love/admire/respect the system…

                  Wait . . . what? Where’d you get that? The NCAA system? Hell no! And I don’t even think it’s better than the alternatives. It may be better than one or two alternatives, but in general I think you’d be hard pressed to come up with a worse, more inequitable system.

                  But if you mean the American legal system, then yes, I am more sympathetic to that, at least in this circumstance, and not just because I’m a lawyer. It’s because the legal system is doing what its supposed to do here. It’s bringing pressure. It’s forcing change. And yeah, I might not like all the changes, but I think the current system is a moral blight. That’s why I don’t care whether Kessler is bringing his case for the purest motives. Just like I don’t care about Clarence Darrow’s motives or Joseph Welch’s motives. If the end result is the dramatic death of the NCAA, then I’m fine with that. Salt the earth where it stood. I think that too many people equate “death of the NCAA” with “death of college football,” and I just don’t think that’s at stake at all.

                  • AusDawg85

                    Nope…I still don’t follow that the NFL is “better” football. I’m totally missing your criteria if it’s not about quality of the athletes. But liking one better than the other can be a matter of a few degrees, not necessarily night and day.

                    And it was, indeed, your respect for the Law I was referencing.

                    • C.S.

                      Ok, fine. The NFL is better football because:

                      (a) Offenses, as a whole, are more inventive and better executed
                      (b) Defenses, as a whole, are more inventive and better executed
                      (c) Quarterbacks are both more accurate and make fewer mistakes, while reading complex defenses in seconds (seriously — every starting quarterback in the NFL is leaps and bounds ahead of every college quarterback in this regard and I honestly don’t think that’s even up for debate)
                      (d) Receivers run better routes and also read and react to defenses in a complex manner that in college exists only in the most rudimentary fashion
                      (e) Offensive line blocking schemes are more complex than those in college and – even with the greater complexity – are executed more precisely and consistently
                      (f) In general, coaches make better in-game adjustments in the pros (mainly, I think, because really good college coaches rarely face the need for adjustments)
                      (g) Pro linebackers are fast enough to guard wide receivers — pro wide receivers . . .

                      . . . and on and on.

                      Now, a lot of this ties in with the fact that pros are better athletes, and far more developed even than the college players who will eventually take their jobs. But most of it is team and/or intellect-specific. Pro offenses are unbelievably complex, yet they’re executed consistently and with such precision that it’s a shock when they screw up. Pro blitz schemes are unbelievably complex, but even marginal pro QBs pick them up regularly. College offenses (especially, I’m sorry to say, in the SEC) are generally vanilla with a few twists, yet there are constant missed assignments, blown routes, and general brain-fartery. Innovators in college (Chip Kelly most recently, but also a long line of others, including Bill Walsh) get snapped up by the pros.

                      So it’s not just the quality of the athletes. It’s also (among other things) the quality of the coaches, the quality of the competition, the quality of the schemes, and the quality of the intellects involved (and the use of those intellects). It’s the precision. It’s the reaction. It’s the difference between watching Federer and watching a club pro, between a pretty good high-school golfer and Phil Mickelson, or between Notre Dame soccer (won the NCAA championship) and Real Madrid. It’s not even comparable.

                      And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the fact that the best teams actually play one another in the pros.

                    • AusDawg85

                      To your points A and B, we will never agree. Watching UGA vs LSU or Auburn vs Alabama or even watching The Genius run his triple option is more entertaining than the copycat playbooks of the NFL. You blow your point when admitting the pros are reaching into the college ranks for coaches and play schemes. Your other points are back to the “quality = better” theme. Peyton Manning is better than any college QB today, but The BCS Championship was infinitely more entertaining than the Super Bowl.

                      If the clear, cool precision of mercenary professionals is your preference, so be it. I’ll take the drama, passion, energy and impreciseness that is college football, even if it is played by 17 – 22 year old kids who are still developing, still growing, and for most, will never play another day after graduation. Damn dude…have you no soul?

        • Gaskilldawg

          You don’t understand the economics of a contingency fee. The lawyer puts in work for years without generating a dime. The lawyer advances the expenses out of his own pocket. A complex trial can generate thousands of dollars in expenses out of the lawyer’s pocket and thousands of hours in uncompensated time over years before the case generates a fee.
          A lawyer is going to make sure a case has merit before taking it on a contingency.

    • Dog in Fla

      I heard that sometimes lawyers just like kicking the shit out of people and entities who earned the ass-kicking the old-fashioned way but that’s probably a suburban legend.

  6. Not that people like Patterson are humorous, but you seem to be getting more on edge with this subject of late Senator. Hope you’re well.

  7. Spike

    Nobody is a bigger jerk that Finebaum…:)