O’Bannon: another nail in D-1’s coffin?

From Andy Staples’ O’Bannon primer comes this about the possibility of a settlement:

If the class gets certified and the schools and the NCAA decide to cut a deal with the plaintiffs, the possibilities are endless. This is the most logical: The schools agree to set aside a portion of revenue — one power-conference AD I spoke to recently tossed out $2 million a year — to distribute to athletes. This money would be placed in a trust and given to the athlete only when that athlete obtains a degree.

From a practical standpoint, this would require a new NCAA subdivision. The schools of the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC are the only ones that could afford such a model. This would offer them an even greater recruiting advantage than they already have over the poorer leagues. They would have to compete only amongst themselves in football. From a viewer’s standpoint, that would be fantastic. School leaders insist such a settlement would require them to distribute the money evenly among all athletes so as not to run afoul of Title IX. If so, it still wouldn’t address the issue of a select few athletes receiving significantly less than market value. It could lead to more legal action, but conversations with those on the plaintiffs’ side suggest this is a deal they’d be willing to make.[Emphasis added.] But it would cost much more than $2 million a year per school.

Assuming that logical and the NCAA isn’t an oxymoron in this setting, there is probably a number out there that both sides could live with.  But it would likely put more than a few smaller, less profitable programs out of the D-1 game, or force a wholesale rejiggering of the division to reflect the new economic realities.  As Staples writes, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for fans.  But you wonder how some politicians might feel about it, particularly if a few of the offended small fry choose to complain.



Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

18 responses to “O’Bannon: another nail in D-1’s coffin?

  1. The NCAA will be begging for a deal this sweet soon.


    • AlphaDawg

      I’m not so sure the NCAA will beg for a deal. Think about this from the small school with a good BB team perspective like Butler or VCU. This requirement would kill the budgets of those schools. There would have to be a seperate division, were gonna end up with the have’s and the have nots.

      This is gonna be one huge mess when its over. I used to think you could just make the scholly players school employees and pay them minimum wage for the 20 hours a week they practice/play, now i’m not so sure.


  2. paul

    IF a few of the offended small fry choose to complain? Is there any incentive for them not to? Most athletic departments lose money. Even at large, well known and well funded schools. Which means to set aside even relatively small sums like 2 million a year for future compensation we’re talking about increasing student fees or using state funds. They WILL complain. As will the students and the taxpayers. And well they should. Meanwhile, Mark Emmert will jump ship just ahead of the poop hitting the proverbial fan and land a higher paying job where he will claim complete ignorance of the situation he created and left behind for others to clean up.


  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    What if….just for discussionary conversation, McGarity’s seeming Scrooge McDuck impersonation about Georgia’s reserve indicates an expectation of a significant change in the overall landscape?

    (The image of the AD diving around in his money bin is too good to pass up)

    If it does, I would like to nominate McGarity to be permanent chairman of the Federal Reserve.

    It would be very interesting, indeed, to see which SEC schools actually have the dollar-power to withstand a significant and very expensive change in the business model.

    I remember reading somewhere that, for instance, at one point last year, the University of Tennessee’s athletic department reserve was down to something like $4 million.


  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Isn’t the core of the lawsuit use of the player’s image/likeness without compensation?


  5. Cojones

    And the argument previously was with npaying athletes while in school. Saw that it changed (in my mind) several weeks ago to awarding money only to those no longer at school if their image is being used. That’s much less of a Pandora’s Box than was anticipated and see no reason why, after leaving for the NFL or getting a degree, players should not get compensated.

    If a degree from the institution is required, so much the better, but with millions that many get from the NFL, this won’t be a drop in the proverbial bucket when it comes to incentive to come back and finish. And why would the case apply when they aren’t taken by the NFL except in a rare case similar to FU’s QB going to create a ministry in Nola? It’s probably a little late for that. Setting it aside for ultimate retirement would be kinder, but who the hell can predict whether the stars will still have their brains to enjoy it by then.

    This remains a sticky wicket of a changed nature.


    • James

      “If a degree from the institution is required, so much the better,”

      Curious what the argument is for this being better. Why does the player owe the university the commitment of earning a degree (especially in a world where scholarships aren’t even guaranteed through graduation)? And doesn’t that discourage the school from wanting the player to earn a degree? Is that a good situation?


      • Cojones

        With a degree, he no longer would be enrolled as a student and could collect his “Image” money as an alum. Better than collecting that money while a student or had not completed a degree. How would we decide to pay players with the #1 jersey if they no longer are here after getting kicked out after a good Freshman year (like a recent RB) ? Many variations exist on that theme that would impune the non-pro standing of CFB players.


  6. James

    But what I want to know is this: how are we going to get Baylor artificially included in this thing?

    But actually: the funniest part of this for me, by far, is the part about getting paid “only when that athlete obtains a degree.” I’m hoping that’s just trolling, and not a serious suggestion.


  7. Dog in Fla

    In the today’s maneuver, the O’Bannon Dream Team counsel uses a Nine Inch Nail on the coffin for enhanced Earworm Musical Brain Re-Education on Emmert and Remy


  8. Always Someone Else's Fault

    The NCAA, plus its associated college presidents and ADs, have become a real-time, 24/7/365 sequel to Dumb and Dumber.

    Or maybe it’s just the end of LOTR, with Frodo and Gollum scrapping over Precious on the precipice of a lava lake.

    Comedy or tragedy? I can’t decide.


  9. DawgPhan

    True Story, I once sold O’Bannon a busted xbox and a handful of games and controllers. He was a regular on a comic book forum I used to frequent. Never had an idea that he would destroy college football.


    • DawgPhan

      Also O’Bannon always seemed bitter about something…so not surprised that he has taken it to this level. good for him I guess.

      I would really be surprised if this really changed anything for UGA.