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Is Judge Holding Reservations In O'Bannon V. NCAA Case?
Published June 21, 2013
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CHANGES ON THE HORIZON? ESPN.com’s Tom Farrey noted Wilken also “suggested the sides work with a mediator, another good sign for the plaintiffs.” If O'Bannon and “the other named plaintiffs are allowed to invite thousands of current and former players into the lawsuit ... potential damages to the NCAA and its co-defendants from an adverse decision could grow into the billions.” Even if “they aren't, scenarios exist that still could force the NCAA to revise its ban on athletes receiving more than an athletic scholarship for their services.” Farrey wrote, “If you thought [NCAA President Mark Emmert] has lost friends in high places lately, just wait if university presidents have to address an issue they've been able to duck for, well, forever.” Farrey: “It takes a brave judge to want to shake up a popular institution, even if it's seen to be in violation of the law.” But by “laying out its case this early in the process, the NCAA is gambling that it also hasn't revealed critical flaws in its argument” (ESPN.com, 6/20). Marquette University National Sports Law Institute Dir Matthew Mitten said that the NCAA “could face foreboding consequences should the case be turned into a class-action lawsuit.” But he added that the NCAA “could take solace in prior rulings that have given the organization wide powers to make rulings to preserve the amateur status of players.” Mitten said, "I’m not one who believes this case is a potential earthquake. Student athletes are already compensated with scholarships that have the economic value of four or five years of college" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/21). ESPN's Rod Gilmore said, “If they ultimately have to share that money, it's probably going to happen years from now and it will be money that likely goes into a trust that is paid to the players over time after they are out of their eligibility, and that money will come away from coaches and administrators more than likely” ("College Football Live," ESPN2, 6/20).