Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NCAA: Public Statements vs. Private E-mails--You Decide

Here is the public statement made by the NCAA regarding O'Bannon lawsuit:
The NCAA's chief legal officer, Donald Remy said in a statement: "While the NCAA is still reviewing this filing, it appears to be more of the same -- baseless theories supported only by inaccurate speculation aimed at destroying amateurism in college athletics. (emphasis added)... [T]he plaintiffs take out of context quotes and statements from representatives of member conferences and institutions, and even NCAA officials, and attempt to weave them together to support their faulty theory. ..."The fact remains -- the NCAA is not exploiting current or former student-athletes but instead provides enormous benefit to them and the public. Plaintiffs are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. The NCAA remains hopeful the court will agree and deny this motion."
Now, lets looks at the internal documents and see what they say:
NCAA President Myles Brand
NCAA President Myles Brand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NCAA president Myles Brand, now deceased, sent an email expressing frustration about the NCAA's  issue of commercializing college athletes.
In 2008, Brand wrote: " ... I have come to believe that the problems we are having with commercial activity are rooted in institutional expenditure rates. It is primarily because of the need for additional revenue that institutions — and the national office — are seeking ways to commercialize their rights, and those of (student-athletes). If expenditure rates had only increased at the (Consumer Price Index) for the past two decades, we would not be having this discussion."
Did he just say that they were commercializing the rights of players (I refuse to use the fictional term student athlete created by the NCAA).  Sounds like Brand is saying that if schools did not spend money like drunken sailors, we could keep this really good gig going without attracting any attention.  You decide.  
How about this exchange between EA Sports and CLC and NCAA executive Greg Shaheen:
Shaheen writes to Battle, in part: "Re: the S/A likeness, this will come in stages, we suspect. We're trying to determine the best strategy to get it all passed over the next two legislative cycles. The current take is that we need to do this first phase and then go back for photos and video games in the next phase. The read is that if we lump it all together, it will become loaded down and be killed."
Battle's reply to Shaheen included the following: "I will tell Joel just to hold off and that we have things under control working behind the scenes."
The potential pitfalls of athletes' likenesses being used in videogames was apparent to NCAA staffers two years earlier, according to another exhibit submitted by the plaintiffs.
In an e-mail in August 2005 to NCAA executive Kevin Lennon, NCAA governance staffer Steve Mallonee wrote " ... since our current rules/interpretations only preclude the actual use of the (student-athlete's) name, picture or physical likeness in commercial promotions/activities, these computerized video games are basically allowed to do what they are doing. The jersey number along with the position and vital statistics is clearly an attempt to have the public make the association with the current student-athlete. And it appears to be working. The Best Damn Sports Show was aired several weeks ago and had (Southern California football players) Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush acknowledging that they were in the video game."
Continuing and then referring to a newspaper story, Mallonee wrote: "That then raises the issue of whether getting in line with technology means being more restrictive or lenient with our rules. The article would imply that we might relax our rules a bit. The biggest concern I have is that such a position really does allow for the maximum commercial exploitation of the (student-athlete) and if that occurs, will it be long before we can defend not giving them a piece of the profits?"
What is EA's motto:  If it is in the game, it is in the game!  I guess the NCAA's motto should be " it just looks like a duck, but it is really a rabbit."
Source:  USA Today

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