Last month, the University of New Hampshire School of Law's Sports and Entertainment Law Institute and Sports Illustrated co-hosted a Town Hall on the O'Bannon case and the future of college sports. The Town Hall examined how this class action lawsuit could radically change college sports as we know it. As you know if you've followed this case, through legal arguments sounding in intellectual property and antitrust, O'Bannon—a former basketball star at UCLA—contends that current and former Division I men's basketball and football players should be paid for their image and likeness on television broadcasts, video games, trading cards, apparel and other commercial ventures. The Town Hall also considered related cases, including Sam Keller v. NCAA and Ryan Hart v. Electronic Arts, as well as pending federal legislation in the NCAA Accountability Act. Collectively, these legal developments could lead to the compensation of college student-athletes and impact their unionization and quasi-employment rights.
The Town Hall featured some of the most influential and insightful people in college sports. It was moderated by B.J. Schecter (Sports Illustrated & SI.com executive editor and UNH Law adjunct professor of sports law and investigative reporting) and panelists were: Sonny Vaccaro (unpaid adviser to O'Bannon and leading advocate for college athletes' rights), Charles Grantham (former executive director of the National Basketball Players' Association), Alan Milstein (litigator for Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Maurice Clarett & other sports personalities), Pete Thamel (Sports Illustrated senior writer), Marty Scarano (UNH Director of Athletics), Alexandra Roberts (UNH Law entertainment law professor) and me.
The Town Hall attracted more than 140 people to attend, including students, attorneys and former basketball players, including NBA Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtics forward Satch Sanders.
On December 17, 2013, video highlights of the Town Hall and accompanying commentary were shown on SI.com.
Yesterday the complete Town Hall video was made available on Youtube. I hope you have a chance to watch: