Tensions were flying in day two of the Ed O’Bannon vs. NCAA trial that started this week. The story of day two was the testimony of economist Roger Noll, a professor of economics at Stanford, being called to the stand as an antitrust witness. Noll’s ability to avoid taking bait from NCAA lawyers was uncanny according to multiple reports, and during the testimony the economics professor stated what may of us already know; college coaches are cashing in on the current structure of the NCAA.
Just within the last couple of weeks we saw Alabama make Nick Saban a seven-million dollar man* and Auburn confirm pay raises for the entire coaching staff. One glance at the most recent database of coaching salaries compiled by USA Today shows just how much head coaches are making these days, and sometimes just the price of hiring a coach takes a toll as well.
Noll was not one to mince words when it came to his views on the NCAA. He referred to the organization as a cartel that profits off the students without giving enough in return. Meanwhile, coaches receive bigger and better contracts each season. Furthermore, Noll even suggested the autonomy talks lend more credence to the idea that the NCAA is a cartel. The topic of autonomy has been discussed for a while now and seems to be receiving enough support from the power conferences and members to make it a reality. While schools may be focused more on being able to use more of their revenue to provide more for student-athletes, Noll thought otherwise.
“He focused on the basics,” attorney Michael Hausfeld, representing the plaintiffs, said. “The NCAA is known by all economists as a cartel, which creates restraints and harm. And the victims of that harm are athletes.”
The NCAA may have held its ground on day one of the trial, which featured O’Bannon stepping into the witness chair for testimony, but day two may have shown a few more cracks that were expected to be revealed in trial. The trial resumes late Wednesday morning.