A litany of scandals in recent years have made the corruption of college sports constant front-page news.
We profess outrage each time we learn that yet another student-athlete has been taking money under the table.
“Let’s start with the basic question,” he said, noting that the NCAA claims that student-athletes have no property rights in their own athletic accomplishments. So they had a right that they gave up in consideration to the principle of amateurism, if there be such.” (At an April hearing in a U. District Court in California, Gregory Curtner, a representative for the NCAA, stunned O’Bannon’s lawyers by saying: “There is no document, there is no substance, that the NCAA ever takes from the student-athletes their rights of publicity or their rights of likeness.
Yet, in order to be eligible to play, college athletes have to waive their rights to proceeds from any sales based on their athletic performance.“What right is it that they’re waiving? They are at all times owned by the student-athlete.” Jon King says this is “like telling someone they have the winning lottery ticket, but by the way, it can only be cashed in on Mars.” The court denied for a second time an NCAA motion to dismiss the O’Bannon complaint.)The waiver clause is nestled among the paragraphs of the “Student-Athlete Statement” that NCAA rules require be collected yearly from every college athlete. Nobody can assert rights like that.” He said the pattern demonstrated clear abuse by the collective power of the schools and all their conferences under the NCAA umbrella—“a most effective cartel.”The faux ideal of amateurism is “the elephant in the room,” Hausfeld said, sending for a book.
Sonny Vaccaro told a closed hearing at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D. “We want to put our materials on the bodies of your athletes, and the best way to do that is buy your school.
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Or buy your coach.”Vaccaro’s audience, the members of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, bristled.
But what Vaccaro said in 2001 was true then, and it’s true now: corporations offer money so they can profit from the glory of college athletes, and the universities grab it.
In 2010, despite the faltering economy, a single college athletic league, the football-crazed Southeastern Conference (SEC), became the first to crack the billion-dollar barrier in athletic receipts. That money comes from a combination of ticket sales, concession sales, merchandise, licensing fees, and other sources—but the great bulk of it comes from television contracts.
Still other lawyers could revive Rick Johnson’s case against NCAA bylaws on a larger scale, and King thinks claims for the rights of college players may be viable also under laws pertaining to contracts, employment, and civil rights. “The public will see for the first time how all the money is distributed.”Vaccaro has been traveling the after-dinner circuit, proselytizing against what he sees as the NCAA’s exploitation of young athletes.
Vaccaro had sought a law firm for O’Bannon with pockets deep enough to withstand an expensive war of attrition, fearing that NCAA officials would fight discovery to the end. Someone tracked down Vaccaro on vacation in Athens, Greece, and he flew back directly to meet Hausfeld.