Pat Haden’s admission to Stewart Mandel that the NCAA could lose the O’Bannon case is getting the buzz right now, but what’s really striking about Mandel’s piece is that nobody on the schools’ side seems familiar with the lawsuit. Even Haden admits he hasn’t followed the case closely. Given what’s at stake, it’s a little hard to understand attitudes like this:
“There’s conversation [about the case], but it’s in the courts. We have no control over it,” Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said recently. “I don’t hear people saying, ‘Here’s what were going to do if it happens.’ … I’ve got more immediate things to worry about.”
And remember that Dodds was one of the folks to file a statement opposing the recent class certification warning of an impending apocalypse if the O’Bannon plaintiffs had their way. So he’s worried, but he’s not. Mr. Sincerity may think needling Texas A&M fans in the here and now is more important than dealing with the potential loss of half of an athletic department’s revenue (and in Texas’ case, that’s a lot of moolah) and we may find that sort of snark amusing, but, seriously, if not Dodds, shouldn’t some of the NCAA membership be having serious discussion with counsel behind the scenes to find out how much of this talk is just for public consumption?
“This case has always been wrong — wrong on the facts and wrong on the law,” NCAA executive vice president and chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement last month. “We look forward to its eventual resolution in the courts.”
This case has already gotten more expensive to settle than it would have been if the NCAA had been willing to cut a deal for what the plaintiffs originally requested. You’d think somebody would start paying closer attention.