“I Knew The University Was Using Me” – Ed O’Bannon
“Larry King Now” Exclusive: Former UCLA Basketball Star Ed O’Bannon and His Lawyer Michael Hausfeld Disclose Their Historic Case Against The NCAA Only on Ora.TV and Hulu.com
Five years since its inception, the O’Bannon vs. NCAA lawsuit — alleging the NCAA and its member schools sold the images and likenesses of former college athletes in violation of antitrust laws — is going to trial. Ed O’Bannon, the suit’s plaintiff, and his attorney Michael Hausfeld join Larry for an exclusive interview regarding the case. This case will be closely watched by the amateur sports community. This historic decision could forever change the way college-level sports are played.
In an exclusive interview available tonight, Ed O’Bannon and his legal counsel Michael Hausfeld sat down with Larry King on his online-based show “Larry King Now” to explain why they say college athletes have no voice, no sense of security, and no control or compensation when it comes to their image and likeness after signing the NCAA scholarship.
Among many topics, Ed O’Bannon discusses when he found out the NCAA was profiting off of him long after he left college sports. He received no royalties or any monetary compensation even though the NCAA included his image and likeness in a video game.
“My likeness was being used…in any other walk of life, I would have a share in that profit,” said O’Bannon. “If someone uses your likeness, then you should be compensated for it.”
What might be most interesting about the lawsuit is that Ed O’Bannon isn’t necessarily looking for monetary compensation now; the suit is to lift the NCAA’s monopoly – what his lawyer Michael Hausfeld calls the “exploitation” of college athletes.
“Even as a student athlete…I knew that the university was using me, using my name as well as my teamates’,” said O’Bannon. “But we didn’t have a platform to speak up.”
Michael Hausfeld explained that the very “paternalistic” nature of universities and athletic departments “to protect these young people from exploitation of others” is hypocritical because “the very people that are exploiting them are the universities and the athletic departments themselves.”
Though Larry King kept his opinions aside during the interview, he later commented that O’Bannon’s lawsuit “is historic.”
“My tendency is to have sympathy for Ed and his case,” he said. “It was a pleasure hearing the opinions of Mr. O’Bannon and Mr. Hausfeld on Larry King Now. I look forward to following the trial. It is a case that presents the potential for serious changes to the face of American sports.”
Larry King also reached out to the NCAA for their side of this issue. Below is a statement from Donald Remy, Chef Legal Advisor for the NCAA:
“College sports today are valued by the student-athletes who compete and all of us who support them. However, the plaintiffs’ lawyers in this case now want to make this about professionalizing a few current student-athletes, only those that play football and men’s basketball, to the detriment of all others. Their scheme to pay a small number of student-athletes threatens college sports as we know it. NCAA schools give more than 90 percent of NCAA revenue directly back to schools (and student-athletes). The broadcast revenue is used in part to provide student-athletes championship opportunities in 89 NCAA sports. More than 1,100 colleges and universities provide more than $2.7 billion in athletic scholarships and educational opportunities for more than 450,000 student-athletes across three divisions.”
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