Saturday, 22 June 2013

Help Wanted: Current College Athlete to Join Plaintiffs

As you should know by now, the O'Bannon v NCAA case continues to wind through the court system, and this past Thursday there was a hearing to address class certification before federal judge Claudia Wilken  The resolution of this case will forever change college athletics; whether it ends in a trial on the merits (doubtful) or settlement (far more likely).

Where are we going?  I offer big picture perspective, a solution, and immediate needs below:

Big Picture:

Joe Nocera of The New York Times takes a big picture approach to look at the impact the O'Bannon case will have on college athletics in this article titled "The Lawsuit & The NCAA."  The theme continues to be, change is coming and the only question is how and when.

One Solution:

Advocating for paying college athletes, I wrote the following piece in The Boston Globe recently.  Then, I offered a solution in an op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education by proposing the creation of a new NCAA division in this article.

Immediate Concern:

What's become apparent is that the class certification efforts--to include current college athletes as plaintiffs with former college athletes--is that Judge Wilken has indicated a willingness to certify IF a current college athlete is formally willing to participate as a plaintiff.  While the plaintiffs asked if the individual could be anonymous, it appears that the answer is "no."  Thus, the rights of future college athletes and the framework of this industry are seeking a courageous CURRENT student-athlete.

Andy Staples provided a great overview of the situation in Sports Illustrated with this piece titled "Current College Athlete Set to Become Face of Ed O'Bannon v NCAA."  To summarize the requirements, the plaintiffs seek the following:

1.  A current student-athlete in the sport of men's basketball or football;
2.  Who starts at a school in either the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC;
3.  That gets significant screen time when his team's games are televised (i.e. a star);
4.  Who has a pristine personal history;
5.  Who is courageous, strong in his convictions, and intelligent.
6.  And finally, someone willing to be the face of change in college athletics.

Up to the task?

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