John Pennington gives us a “be careful what you wish for” warning about where the O’Bannon case could be headed. I understand his underlying point that the suit could have a disastrous effect potentially on smaller revenue programs, but ultimately, doesn’t his argument boil down to empowering the NCAA and its big player members to keep up the status quo because it’s better for smaller schools to hang on to what little they’ve got than to let student-athletes trade on their names (like everyone else can) after they’ve left college athletics?
As for being blinded by hatred for all things NCAA, doesn’t the organization deserve even the slightest amount of blame for public sentiment? If you give them a blank check to continue as things are, it’s hard to see how the NCAA ever takes steps to rein in the arrogance and short-sightedness that’s been a major factor in how it’s widely perceived.
If nothing else, O’Bannon is useful for shining some light on how these people operate. Accountability has been sorely lacking. Maybe a little sunshine is needed.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit are requesting new depositions after the NCAA filed statements last month from major college sports leaders who discussed deemphasizing college athletics if athletes share TV revenue. The NCAA opposes reopening discovery as a class certification hearing date nears in June.
Court documents filed last week show the plaintiffs want to depose 12 of 28 declarants who oppose the attempt to certify the case as a class action, including Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Texas Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds and SEC Executive Associate Commissioner Mark Womack.
To quote the judge in Law and Order, counselor, your client opened the door. Should people like Delany be held accountable for the rubbish (Pennington’s word, by the way) they’ve thrown out about the consequences of an adverse decision in the case? Absolutely. Is it possible they could be shamed enough to begin to see a reasonable way out of the mess they’ve helped create? Well, I’m not sure shame is in Jim Delany’s vocabulary, but at worst it can’t hurt.
The reality is that the chase for the last dollar has twisted the logic behind the NCAA’s stated mission of amateurism – something which at its heart I still value, believe it or not – to a point where its defenders stopped making sense a long time ago. All that’s happening now with O’Bannon is that they’re being called on it. Call it hate if you want. It feels more like frustration to me.