Pretty lively debate at the oral arguments for the O’Bannon appeal yesterday. The panel hearing them seemed pretty up to speed on the issues, and of course it’s impossible to say how their ruling will turn out. But it sounds like most observers drew two conclusions from the day’s results:
“But an even bigger issue is antitrust injury,” Carrier said. “The panel did not want to rely on the appearance of NIL rights in the contracts to assume that such rights existed. I didn’t think this was a big issue before argument but there now seems to be a chance that the NCAA can win on this issue.
“What the plaintiffs can take solace in is that amateurism as a defense was not resuscitated in argument. Even if it doesn’t form the foundation for a significant remedy in this case, future cases such as Alston and Jenkins would benefit significantly if the NCAA cannot use the defense.”
Should that be the way the appeal goes, that’s a win the battle, lose the war scenario for the NCAA: no damages, but amateurism as a defensible stance put down. Hausfield might be unhappy with that result, but Jeffrey Kessler sure wouldn’t be.