Key part from this interesting article about the academic fraud suit filed against the NCAA and UNC this week:
As he did in the O’Bannon case, Hausfeld has designed McCants v. UNC to compel sweeping and historic changes to college sports. Hausfeld demands the creation of an independent commission that would audit Division I programs to ensure that athletes are not victimized by academic fraud and that minority athletes are not receiving inferior education. Audits would also measure post-graduation employment for college athletes and whether — as some NCAA advertisements suggest — playing sports helps the job prospects of college athletes. Hausfeld also seeks monetary damages for all former and current NCAA athletes who didn’t receive the meaningful education they were promised by the NCAA, conferences and member institutions.
In what is already a transformative era of college sports, McCants v. UNC has the potential for further disruption. Race bubbles close to the surface of most discussions about college sports. But McCants v. UNC is the first of the recent high-profile college sports cases to link race to the law. It is also unique in that it raises claims on behalf of both men and women who played college sports, highlighting problems in the relationship between big-time college sports and academic integrity beyond football and men’s basketball programs.
McCants v. UNC is the educational bookend of O’Bannon v. NCAA, which will be reviewed by a federal appeals court later this year. O’Bannon highlights what NCAA critics regard as the economic “exploitation” of college athletes’ name, image and likeness rights. One of the NCAA’s key defenses in O’Bannon is to champion its system of amateurism, which encompasses NCAA rules designed to safeguard the educational experience of college athletes. In McCants v. UNC, Hausfeld attacks the NCAA’s educational defense head-on and asserts that amateurism damages rather than enhances education. The 100-page complaint details a history of college athletes receiving inferior education so that they can remain eligible and generate revenue for their schools, conferences and the NCAA. Justifications for the McCants and O’Bannon cases are thus joined at the hip.
This is going to be a tough case for the plaintiffs to win. But, then again, that was the early perception of O’Bannon, and look how that’s turned out. In any event, we should expect the same steady Chinese water torture drip of unflattering information and admissions emerging from plaintiff’s discovery in this case as we saw in the earlier one.
This is just beginning, but even at this early stage, does anyone think the NCAA and the schools will emerge unscathed from this? And with that in mind, does anyone think the NCAA and the schools will do the smart thing and look to settle the case instead of risking that?
Yes, I know, Mark Emmert. That was a rhetorical question.