Jon Solomon mentions that Jeffrey Kessler is interested in looking at the television deals with the P5 conferences. The arguments for his interest?
The Alston and Jenkins plaintiffs said these documents are relevant because the NCAA and conferences “are grounding their defenses on arguments relating to financial, consumer interest, and student welfare issues.” The defendants have claimed that allowing athletes to be paid would mean reduced scholarships and opportunities for athletes.
A key issue for the Alston/Jenkins plaintiffs is proving consumer demand won’t be hurt if athletes are paid. Given that TV money continues to escalate even as football and basketball players got paid for the full cost of attendance last year, the plaintiffs wrote that “shows that loosening restrictions on payments to athletes has had no adverse impact on the attractiveness of these media properties to networks and consumers.”
The plaintiffs said they also want the documents to show contract terms illustrating the increasing time demands imposed on athletes with weeknight games. They cited North Carolina coach Roy Williams’ outrage at late-night start times for TV, in which he said, “We sacrifice your third child and anything else for the dollar.” One defense by the NCAA and conferences against paying players is the quality of the collegiate experience while integrating them with other students.
If the plaintiffs get their hands on this stuff, I foresee a lot of Stacey Osburn no comments coming.