Legal Ruling May Allow Former NCAA Athletes to Receive Billions

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

This week a judge dismissed a motion by the NCAA to keep men’s basketball and football players from pursuing a cut of the live broadcast revenue being earned with their images.   A federal judge made the ruling, which is going to make it more difficult for the NCAA to continue defending its current revenue model.

The ruling was made in reference to a lawsuit filed by former NCAA athletes, led by Ed O’Bannon, who once played for UCLA.   The NCAA had originally fought to keep players from amending their existing lawsuit to obtain a cut of all television game revenue and not just the money coming from rebroadcasts.   This can be quite costly for the NCAA.

“Now the (NCAA and its co-defendants) are facing potential liability that’s based on the billions of dollars in revenue instead of tens or hundreds of millions,” said Michael Hausfeld, interim lead counsel for the former athletes. “It’s a more accurate context for what the players deserve.”

The lawsuit has added other greats such as Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell, who all believe that former athletes should not have their likenesses used by the NCAA to earn revenue without giving them adequate compensation.  To date, the only people who seem to get rich from these earnings are coaches, commentators, universities and those who never set foot on the court or the field.

A hearing has been set for June 20 where the NCAA is going to argue against giving class certification to the lawsuit.   This statement was issued by NCAA general counsel Donald Remy:


“Although our motion to strike was denied, the judge has signaled skepticism on plaintiff’s class-certification motion and recognized the plaintiffs’ radical change in their theory of the case,” Remy said. “This is a step in the right direction toward allowing the NCAA to further demonstrate why this case is wrong on the law and that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that this case satisfies the criteria for class litigation.”

A group of powerful law firms have invested over $20 million dollars in pursuing a lawsuit against the NCAA, literally licking their chops over the egregious anti-trust violations being consistently committed by the organization.  It has been reported that a Former College Athletes Association (FCAA) has been formed, which will allow players to earn revenue from video game and media licensing after their playing days are over.

As I prepare for a debate with Jon Stossell at Fox Business over whether or not college athletes should be paid, I am happy to read that this important lawsuit has been allowed to move forward.  Nearly all of us can agree that the individuals doing the work should be entitled to a reasonable share of the revenue.  Right now, the NCAA is earning income on the magnitude of other professional sports leagues, but has the peculiar luxury of not having to compensate its employees in an adequate way.


It’s easy to argue that giving players a scholarship serves as a fair form of compensation.   The lack of merit for such an argument is evidenced by the fact that the NCAA has to put so many rules in place to enforce this method of compensation.  Were the free labor market allowed to persist (as it does for the rest of us), most college football and basketball players would be able to negotiate multi-million dollar salaries, just like their coaches.   When you have to create a long list of player restrictions to protect your wealth extraction, chances are that the money was not rightfully yours in the first place.

I’ve never watched a college basketball or football game to see the coach.  Most of us only watch the games to see the players.  If this is the case, then why are the coaches earning as much as $5 million dollars per year and many of the players have mothers who can’t even afford to attend the games?  This is an injustice and it also stinks of racial inequality.  It’s time for this system to change.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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6 Responses to Legal Ruling May Allow Former NCAA Athletes to Receive Billions

  1. I am excited to see this move in the right direction. It is long overdue. The players and their families deserve much better than this. When you think of what it costs to raise a child and prepare him/her to compete on this level, it’s an investment that can’t be repaid but to see the NCAA egregiously rip them off is unconscionable. I will continue to follow and support this effort until they get their just due.

    Deloris

    Deloris
    January 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm
    Reply

  2. Dr. Watkins,

    I applaud you for being on the right side of an issue!! This has been an injustice perpetrated by the NCAA for years. It will be great to see college athletes being able to afford a jacket instead of getting it from an alumnus and taking a chance that the NCAA will penalize them while the NCAA reaps millions from their performance on the court or field!!

    MAKE THE NCAA PAY UP!!

    Danny Boy
    January 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm
    Reply

  3. Great news for all those who were ripped off by the NCAA!

    Tewdrowos
    January 30, 2013 at 7:09 pm
    Reply

  4. Legal Ruling May Allow Former NCAA Athletes to Receive Billions?
    Legal Ruling May Allow Former NCAA Athletes to Receive Billions? We African-Americans endure egregious behavior on the part of the white devils every single day of our lives, but all of a sudden we get bright and determine the degree of their atrocities. The enslavement of African people via the International and National Slave Trade was the greatest Holocaust in human history, but it was not until the enactment of the Reconstruction Amendments to the United States Constitution after the American Civil War that institutional slavery was abolished in this country! The government (People) of the United States sticks their collective heads-in-the-sand as it relates to a multiplicity of atrocities and egregious acts that occur here in the United States every single day of our lives! The United States is the most racist country in the world!
    Legal Ruling May Allow Former NCAA Athletes to Receive Billions? We African-Americans endure egregious behavior on the part of the white devils every single day of our lives, but all of a sudden we get bright and determine the degree of their atrocities now. The enslavement of African people via the International and National Slave Trade was the greatest Holocaust in human history, but it was not until the enactment of the Reconstruction Amendments to the United States Constitution (13th, 14th and 15th Amendments) after the American Civil War that institutional slavery was abolished in this country! The government (People) of the United States sticks their collective heads-in-the-sand as it relates to a multiplicity of atrocities and egregious acts that occur and are committed here in the United States every single day of our lives! The United States is the most racist country in the world!
    Legal Ruling May Allow Former NCAA Athletes to Receive Billions? I have maintained for a long time that our Children should have been provided compensation beyond a scholarship for all of the billions of dollars of revenue they generate for colleges and universities. Additionally, these racist institutions must also be required to reinstate Vanessa Williams’ crown as the legitimate Miss America, Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy and take corrective action to remedy other similar egregious acts and atrocities! These white devils have taken the whole pie, and are now determined to demand ownership of the few crumbs! We must rage a relentless, legitimate and unceasing fight of survival to get more than our allotted share of this country’s enormous wealth because they still owe us Reparations! These white devils, and especially the white male devils, are still on the mission of the white supremacist goal of the Annihilation, Destruction and the Elimination of African-Americans We should therefore be about the business of the Annihilation, Destruction and Elimination of white people, and especially the white male devils! In the war for survival, our enemy must never be the only one fighting! We must be as vigilant about forcing “The Revolution” in this country as the white devils are to maintaining the status quo!

    Nothing But The Truth!
    January 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm
    Reply

  5. Legal Ruling May Allow Former NCAA Athletes to Receive Billions? We African-Americans endure egregious behavior on the part of the white devils every single day of our lives, but all of a sudden we get bright and determine the degree of their atrocities now. The enslavement of African people via the International and National Slave Trade was the greatest Holocaust in human history, but it was not until the enactment of the Reconstruction Amendments to the United States Constitution (13th, 14th and 15th Amendments) after the American Civil War that institutional slavery was abolished in this country! The government (People) of the United States sticks their collective heads-in-the-sand as it relates to a multiplicity of atrocities and egregious acts that occur and are committed here in the United States every single day of our lives! The United States is the most racist country in the world!
    Legal Ruling May Allow Former NCAA Athletes to Receive Billions? I have maintained for a long time that our Children should have been provided compensation beyond a scholarship for all of the billions of dollars of revenue they generate for colleges and universities through their athletic prowess on the football field, the basketball court, the track and in other great money generating sports. Additionally, these racist institutions must also be required to reinstate Vanessa Williams’ crown as the legitimate Miss America, Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy and take corrective action to remedy other similar egregious acts and atrocities! These white devils have taken the whole pie, and are now determined to demand ownership of the few remaining crumbs! We must rage a relentless, legitimate and unceasing fight of survival to get more than our allotted share of this country’s enormous wealth because they still owe us Reparations! These white devils, and especially the white male devils, are still on the mission of the white supremacists’ goal of the Annihilation, Destruction and the Elimination of African-Americans. We should therefore be about the commitment and mission of the Annihilation, Destruction and Elimination of the white devils, and especially the white male devils! In the war for survival, our enemy must never be the only one fighting! We must be as vigilant about forcing “The Revolution” in this country as the white devils are to maintaining the status quo!

    Nothing But The Truth!
    January 30, 2013 at 8:52 pm
    Reply

  6. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails using the exact same comment. Is there any way you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

    Nike Free 7.0 for kvinder

    Slaliarinee
    April 10, 2013 at 3:48 am
    Reply

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