By Keen Reed
A federal judge is expected to rule on June 1 whether or not the four-year-old O’Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit will be given class-action status. If class-action status is granted, it could mean big changes for the NCAA’s billion-dollar economic model. Instead of the NCAA (read: member schools) keeping all the loot for themselves and the players getting nothing more than their scholarships, the courts might eventually rule that athletes in the revenue sports deserve a cut of the pie that they’ve created with their blood, sweat and tears.
At the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, “there isn’t anyone in college athletics that isn’t taking it [the O’Bannon lawsuit] seriously,” wrote Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel recently. “One day soon, maybe even by 2015, the players themselves could be getting a share of the billion-dollar revenue, a once-unthinkable development. The O’Bannon side is seeking a 50/50 split. The NCAA wants to keep it 100/0 and has expressed no interest in negotiating. Billions of dollars hang in the balance.”
Imagine that. Some of the revenue from big-time sports could actually end up going to the players that produce the product, rather than going toward more opulent facilities in the escalating facilities arms race, as well as escalating salaries for coaches and athletic administrators.
It’s a basic accounting issue and the NCAA sports power brokers have all the power. Unlike their NFL and NBA counterparts, NCAA football and men’s basketball players don’t have any representation. No union. No agents. They’re left at the mercy of NCAA decision-makers.
And those decision-makers traditionally have operated from a position of greed.
Hence the need for the O’Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon