Sports Business Students on O’Bannon v. NCAA

On Tuesday evening, I had the privilege of leading a discussion on O’Bannon v. NCAA and the right of publicity in Professor Rob Romano’s graduate sports law class at St. John’s University.  Here are some notes and observations that are worth sharing:

  • When I spoke about O’Bannon with high school students, they were extremely familiar with EA Sports and the details of its NCAA Basketball video game.  The St. John’s students were less interested in the game itself (probably due to the age difference), but much more interested in and familiar with the workings of the NCAA.
  • One of the students was a former Division I basketball player and had signed the Student-Athlete statement.  She was incredulous when I asked her whether she had consulted with an attorney regarding the terms of the agreement or whether she tried to negotiate the terms - demonstrating the fact that student-athletes have no choice but to accept and sign the agreement.  She also did not recall any explanation that, by signing, she was providing the NCAA the right to use her likeness.
  • This student’s experience also reinforced another point, that the NCAA system is f airlyeffective for non-revenue generating sports.  As an athlete in a non-revenue generating sport, she was quite pleased with the opportunity that athletics provided to her.
  • The students were excellent and had a firm grasp of the legal concepts that we discussed.  Professor Romano has clearly done an excellent job of leading this class.

Thank you to Professor Romano and his students for welcoming me to their class last night. 

For more on the O’Bannon case, see my article that was published in the Connecticut Law Tribune.


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