Category Archives: The NFL Is Your Friend.

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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Filed under The NFL Is Your Friend.

It never hurts to ask.

Now, this, my friends, is chutzpah with a capital “C”.

Rihanna, Katy Perry, or Coldplay might be doing the Super Bowl halftime show this year—that is, if they’re willing to pay up. According to The Wall Street Journal, the NFL has narrowed down its list of potential performers for the 2015 gig to those three candidates, though it’s also asking “at least some of the acts” if they’d be willing to pay the league for the privilege of playing the halftime show—something that’s absolutely insane, but not 100 percent unreasonable, considering how many people actually watch the performance. Alternately (and this is where it gets wacky), they should “be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league.”  [Emphasis added.]

As Eric Loomis wonders, it’s not that far from there to asking for a cut of their players’ promotional deals.

It strikes me that Steve Patterson is missing the boat on this one.  The NFL should inspire him.  Instead of drawing a firm line in the sand against student-athlete compensation, he ought to insist on paying college players a little something now in return for a piece of their future earnings.  See how much Johnny Football winds up liking them apples!


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Having their best interests at heart

It’s so much nicer when you can come up with a policy that serves both Nick Saban and the NFL, isn’t it?


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, The NFL Is Your Friend.

“I think it could be a really neat thing and can help a lot of players.”

The most important thing to remember about a professional developmental football league isn’t this

Why is it likely to get off the ground? Vincent, who recently became the NFL’s head of football operations, cites a bunch of reasons, from training coaches and officials to finding players to testing rules.

“It would be an opportunity to enhance our game on many levels, to develop the future, preserve and innovate the game,” he said.

or this…

Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a Chicago-based consulting firm, has a strong relationship with many team owners. He envisions a league being established for spring play, with all of the teams supplying players they want to see more from.

“After the NFL season and before the training camps, say March to July,” Ganis said. “It’s an open time in the sports schedule. The colleges are done and the NBA and NHL playoffs wind down.

“A league in the fall is really tough. It is not like baseball, where teams can be calling up players every day from the minors. There would be lots of restrictions on player movement then.”

or this…

“I do envision some sort of developmental league, based maybe in Florida or Texas or Arizona,” said former NFL general manager Phil Savage, who now is the executive director of the Senior Bowl. “Anywhere from four to six teams; I don’t think more than eight.

“I see it as tightly managed, with not a ton of travel. And I don’t think it would matter the size of the stadiums and crowds, because it’s a minor league, a place to look at players from the lower end of the roster or players trying to make it into the NFL.”

or even this…

“The networks have open time in the spring, and it’s an NFL product. There would be room on the networks for games on the weekend, and on the cable outlets for weeknights,” he said. “There’s really a dearth of major sports on the weekends then.

“I think you would see all the networks with cable channels — CBS, Fox, NBC, and of course NFL Network — to be interested. And ESPN would likely want in on the mix, although they need it the least.”

It’s that it would be an NFL-created enterprise.  Which means it would exist to serve the needs of the NFL and the NFL alone.  Which means this:

Tomlin is right that the NFL relies on the college game for developing the skills of potential pro players. That won’t change but, as the number of undrafted free agents who populate NFL rosters shows — 31.4 percent in 2014 — there are hundreds of players who would benefit from having a place to showcase themselves if the NFL doesn’t come calling.

Just a place to collect undrafted juniors.  Thanks, college football!


Filed under The NFL Is Your Friend.