Wednesday, July 22

The Debate For College Athlete Compensation Resumes As Ed O'Bannon Sues NCAA

This could get dicey. It is not enough for the NCAA to have the USC and UConn decisions resting on their plate, they now face a lawsuit from former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon over the compensation denied to athletes in college. The NCAA has a $4 billion industry on their hands and now the players who helped grow that industry are wondering why they never received a cent. This is a larger take on the lawsuit filed a few months ago by Sam Keller, former quarterback for Nebraska and Arizona State, over athlete likeness being used in the popular EA Sports college football game. Former Rutgers quarterback Mike Hart filed a similar lawsuit recently as well.

There is a huge dilemma for the NCAA if the court sides with O'Bannon on this issue. It is a very slippery slope to tread and while in the past I have been of the philosophy that college athletes are entitled to a free (or partially free) education and benefits that other students are not privy too, this particular issue is more complicated. In my mind players should not be able to earn a "salary" while competing in college but there should be some sort of compensation, if not immediately then down the road after they leave school, for the institution's and NCAA's use of their persona to gain profits. While the athletes deserve to comeaway with more than nothing as they have been getting, the piece of the pie and when they get to eat it are more of the question.

This will be yet another blow to the image of the NCAA and I cannot say yet as to whether I can give up entirely on the organization like many have. It certainly has problems but getting rid of it will cause complete anarchy and chaos when it comes to collegiate sports as we know them. In many ways it is like our federal government sans the gigantic deficit. I, for one, am not ready to see that happen but if it eliminates title IX in college sports...well then I am listening at the very least.

Former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon leads suit against NCAA over use of images
[LA Times]

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