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SBD/September 2, 2014/Colleges
Class-Action Lawsuit Challenging NCAA On Football Scholarship Limits
Published September 2, 2014
THE NEXT BIG ONE? SI's Litan & Wertheim write nothing "looms as large as a likely federal court showdown" next fall in New Jersey. Clemson CB Martin Jenkins is "the lead plaintiff," although he "doesn't have the wattage" of O'Bannon. But what has "raised the stakes and rattled the NCAA pooh-bahs in this antitrust case is the name of the plaintiffs' chief attorney, Jeffrey Kessler." Kessler "has been fighting sports leagues since the 1970s." He "helped bring about NFL free agency" in '92, and as outside counsel to the NBPA, he "has figured prominently in each of the league's labor fights over the past two decades." Chastened by the O'Bannon ruling, the NCAA "is considering asking Congress for an exemption from the antitrust laws," much as the NFL and MLB enjoy -- though, "in the case of the latter, it was bestowed by the Supreme Court." Kessler "is not worried." He said, "It's difficult for Congress to agree on anything these days. But Democrats and Republicans can certainly agree that any system under which a coach can make $6 million, an athletic director $2 million, and the athletes can't get (cab) fare is not likely to attract a groundswell of support" (SI, 9/1 issue).