Posted: 10:57 am Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Lawsuit shows NCAA still in fantasyland 

By Jeff Schultz

EA Sports may settle a class-action lawsuit for $40 million.

EA Sports may settle a class-action lawsuit for $40 million.

One would think that with all of the punches the NCAA is being hit with these days, it would become a better loser. Instead, it continues to provide more fodder for criticism.

Latest example: There’s a proposed $40 million settlement for class-action lawsuits filed by 200,000 to 300,000 former NCAA football and basketball players, whose likenesses were used by video game manufacturer EA Sports without their permission. This is just one of several lawsuits and issues the NCAA is dealing with, all circling around the fallacy of amateur athletics that it’s trying to perpetuate.
Anyway, this was the NCAA’s official response Wednesday to the lawsuits:

First, under no circumstances will we  allow the proposed agreement between EA and plaintiff’s lawyers  to negatively impact the eligibility of any student-athlete…not one will miss a practice or a game if this settlement is approved by the court. This proposed settlement does not equate to payment of current student-athletes for their athletic performance, regardless of how it is being publicly characterized.

Second, the real beneficiaries of this settlement are the lawyers, who could pocket more than $15 million.

We have not yet determined whether to formally object to any of the settlement terms.

– Comment on the first paragraph: So in short, if Player A collects part of his deserved settlement from a lawsuit, the NCAA won’t declare him ineligible. How big of them. So similarly, if an athlete sues a restaurant for food poisoning and wins and collects a settlement, he also won’t be ineligible? Why is this even an issue?

– Comment on the second paragraph: Indeed, lawyers will pocket more than any individual student-athlete. That’s generally the way it works in class-action lawsuits. But the suggestion by the NCAA seems to be that because of that financial reality, the lawsuit was frivolous and without significance. Hardly. This is one of several dominoes that may fall against the NCAA. The next is the Ed O’Bannon class-action, anti-trust suit. The former UCLA basketball player is suing the NCAA for its use of athletes’ images for commercial purposes. Sound familiar? Yeah, thought so.

– Comment on the third paragraph: Quit while you’re behind.

A little more honesty and transparency and a greater grasp of reality would go a long way for the NCAA. It blew a chance to get ahead of this train and now it’s looking silly trying to catch up.

Should the NCAA lose or feel compelled to settle the O’Bannon suit, I can’t wait to see their statement.

Let me edjumicate you: Recent blogs and columns (free links)
– Blog: Richt, Pruitt justified in making changes
– MyAJC: Kennesaw State’s footprint just got bigger
– Blog: Hawks’ assistant Snyder may get Utah job
– MyAJC: Hawks not as far from top in NBA as thought
– MyAJC: Georgia State’s Miles on SEC’s whines: ‘That’s their problem’
– Blog: SEC coaches don’t want rules skirted (Wait. What?)
– Blog: Braves’ move shouldn’t mean Uggla’s out…yet
– MyAJC: Cobb’s embarrassing handout to Braves hits the finish line
– Blog: Holiday 6-pack: Will Nats close on Braves?
– MyAJC: NCAA can’t reform with so many private agendas
– MyAJC: Bobinski doesn’t want excuse making at Tech
– Blog: Michigan botches recruiting pitch
– MyAJC: Braves trade options likely limited
– Blog: B.J. Upton has become a head case
– MyAJC: Bill Curry’s mission: rescue college sports
– MyAJC: Jim Donnan wins biggest game of his life
21 comments
Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

We need to cut the NCAA some slack!  They are making progress.  Earlier this year they gave their finding on the Treaty of Versailles and promised a White Paper response to the Camp David Accords by years end.  Their back log is staggering.

2linepass
2linepass

What rule would stop the student athlete from filing a FAFSA form and taking a federal student loan?  FAFSA paperwork only requires that you be taking classes.  Plenty of kids on full-ride academic scholarships use them for pocket money as a full-ride academic scholarship doesn't cover anywhere close to to the real cost of attending school. 

mgadawg
mgadawg

Please AJC do an article on how much the players do receive.  I have asked multiple time but I think you are scared to write an article that is against the majority's belief.  For major D1 football players you get free tuition (most of the kids are out of state so that is a lot of money and many of these kids couldn't make it into the colleges if not for athletics), free meal plan (football meal plans aren't the same as student meal plans, steak and crab legs instead of cafeteria pizza), free housing, free workout room with a workout plan specifically designed for you, insurance and the best medical service you could ever find, clothing, and lets not forget that weekly stipend check that I just found out about and of course the PELL grant that goes straight into your pocket if you have a full ride scholarship.  There are probably more things I'm not even thinking about.

If you start paying players and truly make this into a business be careful.  If you pay football players you have to pay everyone.  Many schools aren't in as good of shape as UGA, it will shut their athletic program down or will take away the hope of ever getting a good recruit because you can't pay.  Oh yeah, and if you pay only the players that make the school money, I can fire the players who never see the field.  So maybe you help out the top 5-10 percent of football players, but you are going to kill the bottom 50-60 percent.  I don't think it is worth it.

Obama_Joke
Obama_Joke

Let most of the SEC teams and the major football factories from the other big conferences go and create their own NFL farm league and play with themselves.  Let colleges who still believe in STUDENT-athletes continue playing college football.

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

I hope this can of worms fells the whole "sports for profit" system this country has.  The NCAA (whatever that is ... who died and made them gods?) should file for the same antitrust exemptions all professional sports have.  This would be an admission that the NCAA (mostly in reference to football and basketball) is nothing less that running a Minor League System for the NFL and the NBA.  The NCAA is in bed with these professional sports through sanctioning a draft of college players.  At lease baseball has recognized that "calling dibs" on youngsters can include high school grads, bypassing the NCAA monopoly, with basketball also choosing to accept "those poor hardship cases."


The reality is the NCAA should be called a professional multi-sports company and be made to pay its players.  Those players must stop being called students.  The players must be paid a fair wage, based on union bargaining.  The colleges need to remove themselves from the mix.  After the NCAA becomes a professional "agent" of multiple sports, they will then need to pay universities for the rights to utilize their playing fields and practice facilities, and even for the right to use a college's name and logos.  The NFL can gain the right to farm the NCAA, according to agreements yet made, and snatch a "Heisman Trophy winner-to-be" from a team it owns the rights to, calling him up to the big leagues, whenever an opening makes that the right thing to do, with a pay raise part of the process.


Colleges need to take the money it saves from no longer having "athletic departments," plus the billions of dollars paid for what used to be "student athletes" and the infrastructure for sports (arenas and stadiums, et al) and LOWER THE COST OF TUITION.  They should also place large sums of money into special "class action lawsuits" from any ex-college student that has a student loan that was artificially inflated due to schools subsidizing professional sports in the name of athletics.  They should go back to purely intermural athletics, where a grassy playground is ample placement for a game and a few girlfriends standing around watching boys play.

Dawggie
Dawggie

As bad as he NCAA is, it's no worse than the groups of shysters who get even richer off of struggling athletes.

BrookhavenDan
BrookhavenDan

It is a corrupt system - this is the latest on the UNC debacle which the Barney Fifes running the NCAA have ceased "investigating."


Rashad McCants, the second-leading scorer on the North Carolina basketball team that won the 2004-05 national title, told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that tutors wrote his term papers, he rarely went to class for about half his time at UNC, and he remained able to play largely because he took bogus classes designed to keep athletes academically eligible.

McCants told "Outside the Lines" that he could have been academically ineligible to play during the championship season had he not been provided the assistance. Further, he said head basketball coach Roy Williams knew about the "paper-class" system at UNC. The so-called paper classes didn't require students to go to class; rather, students were required to submit only one term paper to receive a grade.

 McCants also told "Outside the Lines" that he even made the Dean's List in Spring 2005 despite not attending any of his four classes for which he received straight-A grades. He said advisers and tutors who worked with the basketball program steered him to take the paper classes within the African-American Studies program.

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/11036924/former-north-carolina-basketball-star-rashad-mccants-says-took-sham-classes

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

I am fed-up with the NCAA, doing nothing for the student-athletes, being sued by the student-athletes, not protecting the student-athletes, not providing insurance for the student-athletes, and pocketing billions because of the student-athletes, which the NCAA then, wastes.


I am not in favor of a Division 4.


I am in favor of a different governing body, by the student-athletes, for the student-athletes, made-up of student-athletes.


This whole sordid mess is all entirely illegal designed only to perpetuate that the NFL can draft any high school athlete after 3 years', the NBA after 1 year and MLB day 1.


Give me a break.


NFL, MLB, and NBA all benefit from the "decisions" this governing body makes in its own best interests - not those of the student-athletes.


NCAA by-laws are a silly, out-dated, set of rules to get colleges in trouble - when the egregious party is the NCAA itself.


What is wrong is glaring : the NCAA.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

"We have not yet determined whether to object to any of the settlement terms".


Where the heck did the NCAA find their lawyers?  NCAA says they are not going to object to a legal agreement between 2 independent parties???  I guess the next announcement out of Emmert's office will be that the NCAA has not yet determined whether to object to the settlement between Donald Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust. 

RingtheBell
RingtheBell

D4 like Slive said, payem already and get it over with

seminoleking
seminoleking

but dont the schools and the ncaa clothe, feed and give them houses? in my best donald sterling voice.........lol

ByteMe
ByteMe

$40M for how much EA and NCAA made off those students for using their likeness seems... low.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

For years and years, the NCAA has raked in money based on performance of student athletes. They sell game time to networks and ESPN as well as games (as pictured in the article.)


Then they turn around and punish any school that breaks rules and gives students any indication of payment or preference.  The NCAA works extremely hard to make sure students do not receive any extra funds from the actual performance on the field.  That only goes back to the NCAA, Conferences, and schools; but never the players themselves. 


Yes, it's unfair to those students whose likenesses are being used for marketing and revenue but they see none of that in return. 


There is a fair resolution to this, but I don't see the NCAA coming up with it. 

GTBob
GTBob

In a weird way I feel bad for the NCAA. The NCAA is really just a PR firm for the major schools in the country. They do their best to convince people that they are maintaining an amateur environment when everyone knows they aren't and really can't. As the money grows, maintaining that facade gets harder and harder. I know everyone wants to blame the evil NCAA for everything but the NCAA is a voluntary organization started and maintained by the schools themselves. They are the ones to blame for this mess. They are greedy people who were more interested in a few more bucks than actually maintaining a collegiate model. It is coming back to bite them now. Personally, I will enjoy watching the whole system crumble.

slydawg
slydawg

Not one and I mean not one PSA should sign an LOI until the NCAA and all of it's members give the players to exercise their individual marketing rights. Period. This way, every athlete gets out what they put in. You can't get any more fair than that.

POAD2014
POAD2014

If these players didn't play at big time schools they wouldn't have been on the game in the first place. 

After taxes some of the players will have little more than pocket change.

The NCAA either needs more power or a whole lot less power. Right now they are just an inbetween joke. 

BrownianMotion
BrownianMotion

big time law firms will pocket 30-40% of this "settlement"  -- players get chump change as usual.  they need to sue the ncaa for more money

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@mgadawg 


" For major D1 football players you get free ... insurance


If you pay football players you have to pay everyone. "


?

?

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

@Obama_Joke 


You call that College Football not including the top College Football Teams ?  That's the joke.

seminoleking
seminoleking

@GTBob exactly and good point. i never thought of it that way. the ncaa is the COVER for the schools.........

BrookhavenDan
BrookhavenDan

@BoomTown That is coming


High-profile sports and labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler filed an antitrust lawsuit in a New Jersey federal court Monday, naming the NCAA and the five power conferences -- the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 -- as defendants. Per USA Today, the suit seeks an injunction against the NCAA's rules limiting athlete's compensation, labeling it "price-fixing."

If successful, the suit would allow players to be paid beyond their athletic scholarships.

 http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/24488838/labor-attorney-jeffrey-kessler-files-antitrust-lawsuit-vs-ncaa

This has a last days of Pompeii vibe