Following Jim Delany‘s, um, “bold” promise in March to de-emphasize athletics if players ever received a pay-for-play, O’Bannon plaintiffs asked to depose the Big Ten commissioner as part of its ongoing lawsuit against the NCAA and co-defendants.
The USA Today reported yesterday that Judge Nathanael Cousins ruled to allow depositions of Delany, Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone, Fresno State president John Welty and NCAA executive vice president Mark Lewis. However, O’Bannon plaintiffs may not depose Texas Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds or Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, among others. Dodds and Bowlsby were among the other college athletics power brokers who, along with Delany, filed declarations supporting the NCAA in the O’Bannon case.
“We’re encouraged by the courts’ ruling granting us the right to depose several of the key declarants in terms of their credibility and veracity,” said Michael Hausfeld, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs.
Conversely, the NCAA declared its own form of victory with a statement on the upcoming depositions, which will be two hours long each.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling and the admissions the plaintiffs’ lawyers made (Wednesday) highlighting the weaknesses in their theories,” the NCAA’s statement read. “We look forward to the additional discovery shining a light on the reasons why this case is not a proper class action.”
The O’Bannon case is currently headed toward a June 20 hearing for class certification. If the case moves forward as a class-action, current athletes could be entitled to compensation on top of any damages owed to the plaintiffs, which are made up of former athletes suing the NCAA for its use of their name and likeness.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.
One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.
Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston. As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”
Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.
Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.