Still in Judge Wilken’s courtroom

When the O’Bannon ruling came down, I noted that the big challenge going forward for Jeffrey Kessler would be dismantling the one argument made by the defense that Judge Wilken accepted – that there is some level of student-athlete compensation that would adversely affect college athletics’ business model.

It sounds like Kessler is going to have to deal with that issue sooner than later.

The NCAA and a group of 11 Division I conferences on Thursday filed a motion to dismiss lawsuits challenging the NCAA’s scholarship limits, arguing the claims contradict a ruling from the same judge in the Ed O’Bannon case…

“Plaintiffs seek to be compensated immediately for their participation in intercollegiate sports in an unlimited amount based on their individual athletic ability or the quality of their individual performances,” the NCAA and conferences wrote. “Such a claim is entirely inconsistent with (Wilken’s) decision in O’Bannon. Indeed, plaintiffs contend that defendants would still be liable for antitrust violation if … they adopted the very student-athlete compensation limits” that Wilken approved in O’Bannon.

While this is the crux of what Kessler has to overcome to win, I don’t think it’s necessarily the end of the world for the schools and the NCAA if Wilken denies their motion.  She may simply be wanting to see what kind of evidence Kessler can marshal in support of his position.  As to whether she comes ultimately to a different conclusion than she did in O’Bannon, that’s probably not a big concern for her, because if Kessler wins, that result will essentially supersede the earlier ruling, anyway.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Still in Judge Wilken’s courtroom

  1. Hank

    I want to make sure I understand this position. If Kessler gets his way, college athletes will be paid like pro athletes? God help the tax payers/students/ticket holders.

    • Why do you leave out the administrators and the coaches?

      • Hank

        I have yet to see a government run entity that takes on new expenses (paying the athletes) take money away from existing personnel, especially the decision makers themselves, to pay the new line item. The first priority is to get new money. Where will that come from? A shining example is the DOT in Georgia. Already a huge budget, grossly mismanaged internal expenses, spent to the limits and roads needing repairs. Instead of straightening out the way they spend their current money, they put out a vote for a new tax. When UGA currently needs more money than they are receiving they stop giving raises to the unprotected employees, lay a few off, cut off contractor expenses, and give raises to the administrators. I can’t see them cutting money allotted to coaches and administrators to pay the athletes. Raise tuition/fees, raise donation levels and ticket prices, and see if there is a way to get more $ from the taxpayers. Maybe cut some of the non-revenue sports so a 5 star recruit can “seek to be compensated immediately for their participation in intercollegiate sports in an unlimited amount based on their individual athletic ability or the quality of their individual performances,”

        • First off, private schools aren’t “government run entities”, so your analogy falls flat from the opening sentence.

          Second, you seriously want to compare the revenues Georgia DOT takes in compared with the flood coming through the Power Five conferences? The latter can’t spend the money fast enough, which is how you find the majority of SEC coaches making more than $3 million per season. How may folks at DOT make that much?

          • Hank

            So, 2% (No I didn’t look it up) of the universities this will effect are private so my analogy falls flat? Really? You may not see a correlation between one government entity to another, or even how the current universities run themselves to a future form of running themselves, but I do. If you truly believe that paying the athletes is going to change their philosophy of how they manage their money, I believe you have a large potential to be disappointed. McGarity has already hinted at raising ticket prices, and I don’t recall that being in response to paying athletes.

  2. Dawgoholic

    Hank,

    The more likely scenario is that unions represent the athletes in a collective bargaining process. If that happens, I expect 4 results:
    (1) Revenue athletes get more money and benefits (but not millions per year and probably not even 6 figures);
    (2) Athletic departments have to run a little tighter;
    (3) Unions get a cut of the money;
    (4) There’s not much of a difference in college football or basketball.

    Unless you run a union, you’re probably not happy with number three. It’s a shame the NCAA has not tried to work with athletes without it coming to this.

    • Legal 9

      Add in all the non revenue producing athletes, make it a union one size paycheck fits all, any personal $ only accrue AFTER graduation, and that’s what is likely coming down the pipe.

      Unless his Emmertness captures the anti-trust exemption unicorn of course.

  3. Dog in Fla

    “If amateurism is the big lie of college athletics, a hokey philosophical fig leaf for a tax-evading, labor price-fixing cartel, then the notion that college sports will collapse if revenue-producing athletes receive more money is a subsidiary strain of uncut malarkey. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf was more honest. Pollyanna was less of a drama queen. Because while Dodds and others assert that paying football and men’s basketball players less than their market rate keeps overall costs down — thereby allowing athletic departments to fund feel-good charity projects like women’s lacrosse — it’s arguably the case that the distorted amateur sports economy actually drives costs up. To understand why, start with a single number.

    $1,107,391.00.

    That’s the amount of money that Texas reportedly paid Dodds in 2012.
    In return for running the school’s athletic department, Dodds made more than university president Bill Powers. More than Texas university system chancellor Francisco Cigarroa. More than Texas governor Rick Perry. More than American Red Cross chief executive Gail McGovern. More than Speaker of the House John Boehner. More than President Obama. More than 99.9 percent of all Americans. More than 99.9 percent of all humans. More than Dr. Evil demanded in exchange for not blowing up the planet.”

    http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/42924176/#!bQgrmS