The steady drip, drip, drip of the O’Bannon lawsuit continues.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins ruled June 15 in Alabama that within 30 days the SEC and SWAC must provide excerpts from football and men’s basketball TV and licensing contracts since 2002. Those excerpts are limited to mentions of publicity or image rights for athletes and must identify the parties and sports involved in the particular agreement.
Chris Hellums, a Birmingham attorney working for the players, said the plaintiffs believe the documents will show former and current SEC players possess the same lack of rights to their own images as those in other major conferences.
“That is a very important concept for the next major battle in the case, demonstrating that players and former players have enough in common so that it makes sense for the trial to occur on behalf of all players, not just a few individuals,” Hellums said via e-mail.
There’s so much data for the plaintiffs to absorb, the judge has moved the trial date back another year. I can’t imagine the conferences are happy about the plaintiffs scouring through their financial arrangements; so the prospect that the information would be made public during the course of a trial must really set their teeth on edge. At some point, you’d figure they’d try to settle just to keep that from happening. With an estimated $4.5 billion a year in revenues, there should be enough green to spread around.