The Immaculate Deception

On August 8th, 2014 district court judge Claudia Wilken found the NCAA to be in violation of antitrust law in a suit that saw public recognition of the farce that is NCAA player’s rights.

Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon led the battle against the NCAA after he decided to take a stand against the NCAA using his likeness even after his departure from college sports, for profit.

O’Bannon featured on “NCAA Basketball 2009”

The ruling brought about the precedent that using a players likeness for profit is illegal. Period. To quote the judges ruling: “The Court finds that the challenged NCAA rules unreasonably restrain trade in the market for certain educational and athletic opportunities offered by NCAA Division I schools.”

What does this mean for the players?

Despite the victory, the NCAA still has the power to make make money on players names, likeness, and images (that includes television deals). However, this comes with a revenue cap as well as the obligation to pay each player who is used $5,000 per year they are in school.

The case is now being fought in appellate courts by the NCAA.

The NCAA still has the power to be the accuser, judge, and executioner as far as player eligibly goes. As well as has the power to prevent players from signing endorsement deals or making any money on their own outside of small compensation they receive from the NCAA.

Many people on the side of the NCAA with this issue agree that with a fair compensation, a scholarship, room and board, and meals, the players are getting a great deal for their talents and revenue that help their institution.

However, I would encourage them to ponder this. $20,000 in compensation and a price of college thats worth about $100,000 over a college career doesn’t even scratch the surface of the $12 billion dollars a year that colleges make from sports. Again, thats a YEAR.

The world of college sports and the NCAA has had their thumb over athletes since the coin of the term “student-athlete” and the notion of amateurism. The time is coming however, where colleges and the governing body cannot ignore the glaring hypocrisies going on in the present system.

They prevent athletes from making money because they argue they provide an experience to college athletes by giving a free education and a chance to showcase talents. If this was really about education and the love of the game, we would see a lot of more athletes with successful careers after football.

That rarely happens in today’s money-driven college sports environment.

The recent scandal at the University of North Carolina exposed schools for only attempting to keep players eligible for sports without actually educating them. “Paper classes,” as they were called, were composed of a structure that required no attendance, no homework, no tests, or textbooks, but only a requirement was to turn in a paper at the end of the semester. A complete joke. The enrollment in these classes were primarily football players.

Kids are recruited for their amazing talents, milked of them for notoriety and profit, then leave the university with an education that was either spoon fed or partially fabricated, and expected to keep quiet about it. If their football career ends with no professional contract, they wind up in the world having no money and not much hope. They made no money while in college because their main focus had to be football, because the school had the power to terminate their scholarship in any given year. In addition, they leave school with an education that was focused around them staying eligible, not educated.

The O’Bannon case is opening the doors to these types of conversations about college players rights, and I welcome the opportunity for players to have a voice in this messed up situation.

There needs to be a change, and hopefully it is on the rise.

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