Tags: ncaa | lawsuit | ucla | obannon

NCAA Lawsuit: UCLA's O'Bannon Says Athletics Topped Studies

Image: NCAA Lawsuit: UCLA's O'Bannon Says Athletics Topped Studies

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 07:29 AM

Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon told a federal court Monday that while attending the school he was an athlete first and student second because playing ball was his job.

O'Bannon and 19 other athletes are trying to win an injunction that would allow college players to sell the rights to their images in broadcasts. The class-action lawsuit could lead to a system allowing college athletes to tap into the millions connected with college sports television contracts once they are done with their college careers, The Associated Press reported.

"I was an athlete masquerading as a student," O'Bannon told U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken. "I was there strictly to play basketball. I did basically the minimum to make sure I kept my eligibility academically so I could continue to play."

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O'Bannon described basketball at UCLA as his job, saying it was a challenge just making it to class just a few hours a day. He told the court he changed his major from communications to U.S. history to better fit his basketball schedule rather than any interest in the studies.

He would eventually lead the school to its last national basketball championship in 1995.

"There were classes I took that were not easy classes but they fit my basketball schedule so I could make it to basketball practice," O'Bannon said in court.

The lawsuit has already had an impact on how some colleges sell athletic merchandise before it ever reached court. CNN reported that Arizona, Northwestern and Texas A&M have ended the long tradition of selling jerseys with the numbers of specific players at their schools.

Texas A&M has opted to sell No. 12 jerseys, connected with the university's 12th man slogan; Arizona will only sell jerseys with the year, such as No. 14 for 2014, while Northwestern sells No. 51, the college number of its coach Pat Fitzgerald, and legendary Chicago linebacker Dick Butkus, noted CNN.

"Last year, as we began making plans for the 2014 season, we took the opportunity to evaluate the landscape and some of the questions being raised, and determined there was no upside to continuing to offer specific jersey numbers for sale," Paul Kennedy, a spokesman for Northwestern, told CNN in a statement.

"Fans will continue to be able to purchase customized jerseys with numbers that are meaningful to them and their affiliation with Northwestern Football."

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Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon told a federal court Monday that while attending the school he was an athlete first and student second because playing ball was his job.
ncaa, lawsuit, ucla, obannon
419
2014-29-10
Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 07:29 AM
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