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SBD/September 5, 2012/CollegesPrint All
Former UCLA F Ed O'Bannon on Friday took his lawsuit against the NCAA regarding the use of former players’ names, images and likenesses “one step further," seeking in a court filing permission to "expand the class action to include current D-I football and men's basketball players,” according to Michael McCann of SI.com. O'Bannon is not asking that current players "be paid while in college," but he wants a "temporary trust set up for monies generated by the licensing and sale of their names, images and likenesses." Players could access the funds “at the completion of their collegiate careers.” Under O'Bannon's proposed trust, when a current player finishes college, they “would receive money for four years' use of his name, image and likeness.” Players "would receive half of the NCAA's broadcasting revenue and one-third of video game revenue, with the remainder of revenue staying with the NCAA, conferences and colleges.” The formula would mean that four-year players "would likely accrue thousands or tens of thousands of dollars -- if not more -- in their trusts." U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins “will soon hold hearings to determine an appropriate class” for the suit. If Cousins grants O'Bannon's request, "any current or former D-I football or men's basketball player could join the lawsuit.” O'Bannon dismissed the "series of documents student-athletes are required to sign as part of their participation in college sports,” which requires the acceptance of the NCAA's "use of their name, image and licensing.” He calls these forms “'contracts of adhesion' or unenforceable no-choice contracts.” The desired expansion of O'Bannon's lawsuit “may not end with D-I football and men's basketball players." If O'Bannon succeeds, "expect him to eventually go for it all -- a class that would include all current and former D-I athletes” (SI.com, 9/1).
NEW EVIDENCE IN PLAY? ESPN.com’s Tom Farrey noted "no monetary figures" were disclosed in O'Bannon's motion. A source said that the "new angle could deliver ‘hundreds of thousands’ of dollars each year to Division I basketball players.” Football players, who are "more plentiful, could get less." Asked the reason for making a case for current players now, the source said, "Now we have evidence. And so much more has happened since we originally filed our lawsuit -- new media deals, new scandals” (ESPN.com, 9/2).
A billboard in Gainesville, Fla., that "seemed to insult" the Univ. of Florida on behalf of Texas A&M Univ. has "been taken down, but the mystery of who paid for it remains," according to Nathan Crabbe of the GAINESVILLE SUN. The billboard said Gainesville has been “annexed by the Aggie Nation,” and read in part, “The Best Academics & Cleanest Program in the SEC. WHOOP!” Texas A&M officials said that they "didn’t authorize the sign." After sending a cease-and-desist letter alleging trademark infringement yesterday, billboard owner Clear Channel "replaced the billboard with a message advertising the company." Clear Channel VP/Marketing & Communications Jim Cullinan said, "To protect any trademark we’ll take it down, and if they resolve it, we’re happy to put it back up.” A&M VP/Marketing & Communications Jason Cook said the billboard is “not in line with how we have handled our transition to the SEC.” Cullinan said that a Houston media company "representing a group called Aggie Nation bought the billboard." But Cook said that the university "has a 'strong suspicion' that it was not placed there by anyone affiliated with Texas A&M or its supporters." A&M on Saturday plays its first SEC football game, hosting UF (GAINESVILLE SUN, 9/5). The billboard was located "about four-and-a-half miles away from Florida's campus" (ESPN.com, 9/4). A&M fans earlier this summer placed a billboard in Austin, the home of the Univ. of Texas, "declaring the area 'SEC Country'" (FLORIDA TODAY, 9/5).