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Published August 15, 2013
SKY IS NOT FALLING: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman wrote even if the plaintiffs in the Ed O'Bannon-NCAA case "got everything they are seeking, most Division I athletic departments would avoid catastrophe." But a "sense of alarm may be warranted on some campuses, particularly smaller athletic departments in large conferences" such as Iowa State, Washington State or Indiana. The plaintiffs are "seeking big slices of two main revenue areas, both tied to players' images and likenesses," as well as one-third of videogame revenue from schools and half of TV revenue, which to athletic departments like Ohio State is "gravy, and losing half of it wouldn't be crippling." A "worst-case-scenario hit" for OSU would amount to $12.4M in lost TV revenues, or "less than 9% of total athletic revenues." Small schools also can "breathe easy." If Western Kentucky lost $500,000 in TV revenues, that "would hardly decimate the Hilltoppers." But for a school like ISU, losing half of its TV rights money "would gouge 24% of revenue from an athletic department that runs on a break-even basis." These calculations "assume the plaintiffs are awarded the percentages they're seeking." A jury could "award a lower percentage, or both sides could settle for a lower percentage" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/14).