New Book Tells the Story of O’Bannon’s Fight Against the NCAA for Economic Justice
By Ken Reed
Former UCLA basketball All-American Ed O’Bannon had finally had enough when he saw his likeness being used in a video game. He knew others were making money off his likeness and he also knew he wasn’t getting a penny from the video game. A basic sense of unfairness drove him to file a lawsuit against the NCAA.
O’Bannon v. NCAA eventually became an antitrust class-action lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of the NCAA’s Division I football and men’s basketball players.
On August 8, 2014, District Judge Claudia Wilken found for O’Bannon, et al, ruling that the NCAA’s rules and bylaws operate as an unreasonable restraint of trade, in violation of antitrust law. A year later, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, in part, and reversed, in part, Wilken’s ruling. O’Bannon’s lawyers appealed the case to the the Supreme Court of the United States, however the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Nevertheless, the fight for economic justice for college athletes continues.
O’Bannon has a new book out called Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA. (http://amzn.to/2oJrLjo) It covers the process O’Bannon went through in his fight against college sports’ powerbrokers.
“Our intentions were, first and foremost, starting the conversation of players getting paid,” says O’Bannon.
“The amount of money that student-athletes are bringing into universities is staggering — it’s in the billions. So whether you’re UCLA, Ohio State, Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, or whether you’re a smaller school … everyone is getting paid. It’s the coaches, the athletic directors, the trainers, doctors — everyone on campus is getting paid off of that money that the athlete is bringing in. Except the athletes themselves.
“I think it’s really as cut and dry as this: If you help make the money, you should be able to share in the profit. That’s the American way.”
O’Bannon is happy that things are gradually changing for the better for college athletes. But he’s also frustrated with the slow pace of change.
“This book is more to educate, and to entertain,” says O’Bannon.
“I wanted it to be an easy read and I wanted the reader to get something out of it. I wanted the reader to understand where I’m coming from. Nothing more, nothing less. … I just want to get out there and talk about the system, where it is, give my opinions on where it should go, and that’s really it. Hopefully things will change. I know they are, in a molasses-like manner. I’m excited that they are changing.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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