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What to Read to Understand the O’Bannon vs. NCAA Trial

dog reading a bookNow I’m not saying you should know what the O’Bannon vs. NCAA trial is about or even care. If you have any interest in college basketball or football, it’s highly unlikely that you haven’t heard about the trial. But if this is all new to you and you start to wonder what all the fuss is about during the expected two-week trial, I suggest reading the following resources.

Your one-stop NCAA vs. O’Bannon trial primer: What to know for June 9

If you only read one overview of what the trial is about, Kevin Trahan’s at SBNation is the one to read. It’s well-organized and answers questions you didn’t even know to ask such as “What has already been decided?” And given some of the amazing statements from the NCAA, Trahan manages to present the information without the sarcasm some of it richly deserves. The end of the article provides a list of people to follow on Twitter during the trial as well as links to past coverage.

“The O’Bannon suit is basically a lawsuit against the NCAA that challenges its right to sell broadcasts without paying players anything. If the O’Bannon plaintiffs succeed in getting an injunction, then the NCAA will be forced to pay the players some sort of broadcast rights.”

Combat By Trial

If you’re looking for the details served with biting sarcasm, Partick Hruby at Sports on Earth is your man. It includes questions to similar to other primers such as “what is the NCAA trying to prove”? and “what’s a bench trial?” But he also includes questions like these:

Is it all obnoxious for the NCAA to spend time and space in its pre-trial brief for Judge Wilken arguing that there shouldn’t be a trial in the first place, given that she already heard the arguments in the assocation’s bid for summary judgment and, you know, ordered a trial?

Maybe a little, though the NCAA’s lawyers likely are just laying groundwork for a possible appeal. Besides, it’s not nearly as obnoxious as using air quotes in the same brief to describe O’Bannon’s “expert” witnesses and “evidence.”

The NCAA really used air quotes?

Sure did.

Ed O’Bannon vs. NCAA: A cheat sheet for college sports on trial

As for as primers for understanding the issues, Jon Solomon’s at CBSSports.com is a close second to Kevin Trahan’s. It covers the arguments for both sides and expected witnesses. Solomon includes some background on the trial judge and some different questions such as “What’s the role of NCAA and school publicity forms that athletes sign?” One of the NCAA’s arguments is that

The integration of athletics and academics would be damaged if athletes were paid. This defense assures the quality of some college athletes’ education will be put on trial, such as the alleged, fake “paper classes” at North Carolina. Wilken said the NCAA must show evidence its payment restriction “actually contributes to the integration of education and athletics.” The NCAA says it will provide data showing football and men’s basketball players achieve academic success at equal or higher rates than other young people with similar backgrounds.

Separating truth from myth before the Ed O’Bannon v. NCAA trial

Andy Staples’ truths and myths analysis at SI is worth a read. It covers some of the same material as the other primers but offers a few different angles:

The deck is stacked against the NCAA in O’Bannon.

TRUTH: Perhaps the worst thing the NCAA’s attorneys could hear was this statement from Wilken during a hearing in February: “I don’t think amateurism is going to be a useful word here.”

A verdict in favor of the plaintiffs will cause the NCAA to crumble.

MYTH: Nothing will happen immediately, because no matter what Wilken decides, this case will get appealed

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