If you’re not inclined to read my full report on the ruling in the O’Bannon case that came down on Friday, you can probably get away with simply knowing what it does not mean.
- It does not mean all student athletes are getting cost-of-attendance stipends. In fact, it doesn’t even mean all football and men’s basketball student athletes are getting cost-of-attendance stipends. What the ruling said was that the NCAA cannot set a rule limiting stipends to anything less than cost-of-attendance for football and men’s basketball student athletes. If I were a betting woman, I’d say the NCAA sets the limit for stipends at cost of attendance and allows all student athletes to receive that stipend. Some schools will be able to afford to implement the stipend, some will not. There is no requirement in the ruling that schools must starting funding cost of attendance stipends, merely that the NCAA cannot legislate against it.
- You’ve probably heard about the $5,000 tied to the trust fund idea. It does not mean every football and men’s basketball student athlete is automatically accruing $5,000 per year in a trust fund to access after graduation or exhaustion of eligibility. What the judge said was that the NCAA cannot prevent schools from offering at least $5,000 per year to football and men’s basketball student athletes (to be placed in a trust for disbursement upon graduation or exhaustion of eligibility). The NCAA will likely set the cap at the minimum $5,000/student athlete/year. Each individual school can then decide if they want to participate, but they are not required to do so. One school might decide on the $5,000 number, another might only be able to do $2,500, and yet another might decide they cannot afford to do anything. Whatever the schools choose, they must implement it equally across a recruiting class. You can’t offer higher-profile recruits more than other recruits. You can, however, change the amount with each new recruiting class.
- Sadly, it does not mean the NCAA Football video game is coming back. The judge did not rule that football and men’s basketball players could pursue individual commercial sponsorship or endorsement deals. In other words, they can’t sign on their own with EA Sports or Nike or Gatorade or anyone else. The ruling simply forces the NCAA to allow schools to share some licensing revenue with student athletes under the two very limited circumstances explained above. Is still means schools will have to decide to license with EA Sports or other video game producers in order for the games to come back. Student athletes cannot join together and go license their name, image and likeness to create video games, at least not under this ruling.
One of the most complicated parts of the O’Bannon ruling against the NCAA stems from the fact that Judge Wilken did not have to take Title IX into account when she ordered stipends and trust funds for football and men’s basketball student athletes.
I am not a Title IX scholar or expert, but I did interview about a half dozen of them when I was writing Saturday Millionaires for the chapter on pay-for-play. One big misconception I’m seeing from fans on Twitter this morning is that Title IX only covers equal opportunities for female student athletes. That is not the entire story. Most of you are familiar with what we call the “three-prong test” for Title IX, which does focus on opportunities. However, the three-prong test is just one of three parts of a full Title IX analysis.
The issues I see with the O’Bannon ruling and Title IX come in the second part about athletically-related financial aid and in the third part (the laundry list) where publicity and recruitment are factors.
Would a court consider the new stipend and trust fund for football and men’s basketball players “athletically-related financial aid”? Does it matter that football and men’s basketball players are publicized in more high-profile ways than female student athletes? What about the fact that the new trust fund will be associated with recruitment? Those are questions that will have to be answered.
I want to give you some excerpts from Saturday Millionaires where I explained the three parts of Title IX analysis to highlight where the O’Bannon ruling might be at odds with Title IX. Continue reading
Although the judge dealt the NCAA a blow, and certainly gave student athletes a landmark victory, her ruling was very narrowly tailored. I have a detailed breakdown of the case and the ruling on Outkick the Coverage on FoxSports.com.
In my opinion, Division IV was like Texas threatening to leave the Big XII; it was never going to happen. Texas wanted Longhorn Network and all the money that came with it, and the Power 5 (the ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) want autonomy within the confines of the NCAA.
Click here to keep reading my thoughts on why Division IV isn’t happening over on Outkick the Coverage.
Are the Power Five conferences going to break away from the NCAA? Continue reading
The NCAA has reached a proposed $20 million settlement with current and former student athletes in the class action led by former ASU and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller. If approved by Judge Claudia Wilken, it would be in addition to the $40 million settlement agreed to by EA Sports and CLC less than two weeks ago.
The Keller case involves similar issues as the O’Bannon case, which officially went to trial today: use of player likenesses in EA Sports video games. However, the plaintiffs in the Keller case were seeking monetary damages for current and former student athletes who allege their likenesses were used in the games, while the O’Bannon class is asking for an injunction that would prevent the NCAA from limiting student athlete’s ability to be compensated for use of their names and likenesses in video games, television broadcasts and other forms of marketing. In essence, Keller’s case sought to compensate current and former student athletes whose likenesses have already been allegedly misappropriated, whereas O’Bannon’s case seeks an NCAA rule change that would benefit future student athletes.
“This is the first time in the history of the NCAA that the organization is paying student-athletes for rights related to their play on the field, compensating them for their contribution to the profit-making nature of college sports,” said lead attorney for the Keller plaintiffs Steve Berman. “We’ve long held through our various cases against the NCAA that the student-athlete is treated poorly in everything from scholarships to safety. This settlement is a step toward equity and fairness for them.”
The $20 million will be available for claims by current and former student athletes who competed in FBS football or Division I basketball and who believe their likeness was included in a video game produced by EA Sports since 2005.
“With the games no longer in production and the plaintiffs settling their claims with EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the NCAA viewed a settlement now as an appropriate opportunity to provide complete closure to the video game plaintiffs,” said NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy in a statement.
The NCAA has also stated that it will allow current student athletes to make claims and collect settlement funds without risking their eligibility.
Ever wondered how much schools actually made from the EA Sports games? I have the answer here, and it might surprise you.
While the Dayton Flyers have been flying past the competition to make it to the Elite 8, their fans have been flying to Twitter to tweet about all the Madness. According to Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, 143,000 unique users tweeted about the Dayton upset of Stanford on March 27. These 231,000 total tweets were seen by an unique audience of 5.3 million people, generating 32.3 million Twitter TV impressions.
In fact, on March 27, the top four tweeted about sporting events were all four NCAA March Madness Men’s Basketball games. The only non-NCAA sporting event that made it into the daily top five was the Washington Nationals and New York Mets pre-season baseball game. Despite making it into the top five, the Nationals-Mets game was tweeted about far less than any of the either games with roughly 110,000 less tweets and 64,000 less unique authors than the San Diego State vs. Arizona game, which was the fourth most tweeted about sporting event that day.
For the week ending March 23, which saw 52 NCAA Men’s Basketball games played, 9 out of the Top 10 tweeted about sporting events were all March Madness matchups. The only non-March Madness game cracking the Top 10 that week was the Real Madrid CF vs. FC Barcelona soccer match on March 23, which came in at number seven. The most tweeted about game that week was the takedown of the Duke Blue Devils by the Mercer Bears. Upwards of 473,000 unique users tweeted 895,000 times about the upset. This produced an unique audience of about 7.8 million viewers and 80.2 million Twitter TV impressions. The next closest game was the Kentucky vs. Wichita State matchup which saw 304,000 unique users tweet 665,000 times about the game. The top four tweeted about events that week (including the two aforementioned, Dayton vs. Ohio State, and Dayton vs. Syracuse) all had more tweets that were tweeted by a larger amount of unique users than the Dayton vs. Stanford game on March 27.
Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings were first introduced in October 2013. They measures the total activity and reach of TV-related chatter on Twitter and are built on the SocialGuide platform. Unique authors are accounts that have sent out at least one tweet relating to a specific TV program or sporting event. Additionally, impressions are the number of times any of those tweets were seen while the unique audience is calculated as the total number of distinct Twitter accounts that garnered at least one impression of one or more different Tweets credited to a specific episode or sporting event. All the statistics for these games are credited to Nielsen SocialGuide.