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What’s At Stake In NCAA Lawsuit? Schools “Might Cease Playing Division I Or Football Bowl Subdivision Sports”

lawsuitA potential class-action lawsuit that threatens  the NCAA amateur student-athlete model has the association fighting back in court.

A federal-court filing on Thursday revealed just how big the stakes are and what college officials fear could be the end of certain athletic programs at some schools, including football, at the FBS level.

Specifically, should college football and men’s basketball players be paid?  Here’s what Texas A.D. Deloss Dodds and women’s A.D. Christine Plonsky had to say in the filing:

 

Texas “has no interest in a model that would force us to professionalize two sports to the detriment of the balance of the athletics department’s sports, fitness and educational programs.”

 

Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch went even further.

 

The school ”might cease playing Division I or Football Bowl Subdivision sports entirely if pay-for-play became a reality…

“Instituting a pay-for-play model, even if the payments are deferred to after graduation would change the nature of the relationship Wake Forest has with its football and men’s basketball student-athletes. It would, essentially, turn those teams into professional squads. That would not be acceptable to Wake Forest.”

 

One issue that has university officials worried – Title IX and gender equity concerns.  California State University system chancellor Timothy White included this in his statement:

 

“Paying male athletes for their participation in sports would seriously undermine the objectives of Title IX and CSU’s ability to remain in Title IX compliance.”

 

These filings come as a result of  a judge’s  ruling in January allowed plaintiff’s lawyers to proceed with efforts to have the case certified as a class-action. The suit, initially filed against the NCAA and video-game maker Electronic Arts back in 2009, contends that, among other issues, defendants violated anti-trust law by conspiring to fix at zero the amount of compensation athletes can receive for the use of their names, images and likenesses in products or media while they are in school.

 


1 comments
BonzaiB
BonzaiB

Once the courts bring in Title IX, this issue becomes a political quagmire and a nightmare to predict. Title IX has been seriously corrupted from its original intent and will be the 800 pound regulatory gorilla in the room. You cannot "split the baby" when it comes to Title IX and its wierd gender equity rules if you start paying football players. Something will have to give in college athletics.

 

Broad stroke, schools would be faced with the delima of keeping football and eliminating other mens sports programs to get to a "salary cap" they can afford. This case has the potential for destroying 10 to 30 percent of the college football or other male programs in the country, over night. The toll could be higher. 

 

Keeping football, with its 40 plus roster of men, you would have to keep the women's soccer, basketball and softball teams, while perhaps eliminating those men's teams,  to conform toTitle IX and to achieve some sort of salary cap the universities could afford. There is the problem of paying athletes, which makes them employees, and opens the universities up to future lawsuits, in the many millions of dollars per annum for injuries sustained in the workplace, just like the NFL is now paying out. 

 

The number of compliance lawsuits would be staggering in the short term, depending on the clarity and scope of the ruling. This case has the potential to fundamentally alter the landscape of college athletics the year it is decided, and not in a good way. Upgrades to stadiums and the huge debt now faced by a number of universities in their sports programs might not be recoverable if the universities have to start paying athletes on top of their existing debt. 

 

The list goes on and on, but this case has some awful potential for creating mayhem at the college level. However this goes, it will not end up being pretty.

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