I was recently interviewed by Ben McKenna of The Legal Blitz, a sports law blog published by Ben McKenna and Steve Silver, students at Temple Law School. The interview covered a wide range of topics, from how I became involved in sports law to issues in high school and college sports, including concussions and the use of wood bats. Here’s an excerpt:
Will paying college athletes ever happen? Is it a good idea?
I recently gave a lecture to a group of high school students and called this the $771 million question – $771 million being the approximate amount of television revenue that the NCAA men’s basketball tournament produced this year. There is clearly a shift in collegiate athletics to the point where people are at least considering the idea and I do think that some changes are on the horizon. It is hard to justify making these enormous sums of money from the players’ work and not compensating the players. Although a pay-for-play system might be difficult to implement, the fact that it would be difficult should not prevent it.
The issues raised by O’Bannon v. NCAA are also important to this discussion. Should former players, no longer in school, be paid when the NCAA or one of its licensees uses the images of these players for commercial gain? This group must be compensated.
What are the most common eligibility issues/obstacles that collegiate student-athletes face?
Besides academics, student-athletes are constantly having issues with transfers, especially with obtaining a release from their original school. And high school athletes entering college must deal with the National Letter of Intent.
The National Federation of State High School Associations just changed its policy regarding metal bats for high school baseball. Can you talk about the new rules, and your opinion on whether it was necessary?
I used to go to Cape Cod every summer growing up and always thought it was cool that the Cape Cod League used wood bats. Any move towards wood bats, or bats that simulate wood, is a positive development. Metal bat technology advanced to the point where safety was compromised and many baseball people would probably tell you that to some extent it changed the nature of the game.
Click here to read the interview in its entirety. Thanks to Ben for a great interview, and congratulations to Ben and Steve on an excellent website.