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Mandel: NCAA presented a ‘tone-deaf’ defense in O’Bannon trial

Mark Emmert AP

Today is the final day of testimony in the O’Bannon trial, and it’ll bring to close three weeks of what SI’s Stewart Mandel characterized as a “tone-deaf” defense by the NCAA.

While some of the NCAA’s missteps have been bemusing, others — like the omission of student-athletes or coaches from the NCAA’s strategy — could very well swing Judge Claudia Wilken’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs.

From Mandel’s column, which ends with quite the knockout punch:

Yet over three weeks of testimony, the NCAA’s 14 handpicked witnesses to date have mostly pontificated the type of elitist, ivory-tower rhetoric that routinely infuriates its critics. It has offered little convincing evidence that compensating athletes through group licensing fees would irreparably harm college athletics. And that’s coming from someone like me, who passionately enjoys college football and basketball. I can’t imagine the organization has fared better with U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, for whom the sports world is so spectacularly foreign that she had to ask one witness to spell out ESPY.

Give the whole column a read — it’s an excellent take on where the NCAA went wrong in this whole process. Maybe there was nothing the NCAA could do since the athlete compensation train has already left the station. But the NCAA didn’t even bring the right weapons to the fight.

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4 Responses to “Mandel: NCAA presented a ‘tone-deaf’ defense in O’Bannon trial”
  1. dietrich43 says: Jun 27, 2014 12:10 PM

    The NCAA has been tone-deaf to common sense for decades, so why is this a surprise? They have on interest in doing anything but continuing to rake in the money.

  2. rponciano says: Jun 27, 2014 2:17 PM

    I for one am not surprised, Emmert, Duncan, Cooper, Hosty and several others have stuck their heads in the sand regarding lies told to the infraction comittee by NCAA field investigators.
    So their actions in this case are very typical as well as pathetic.

  3. bigdinla says: Jun 27, 2014 2:22 PM

    It doesn’t matter. This is destined for the Supreme Court. The NCAA can afford to drag this out. The O’Bannon trial won’t end for years.

  4. dmvtransplant says: Jun 27, 2014 2:23 PM

    I know I shouldn’t say it, but COME ON judge you didn’t know about the ESPY’s are? I don’t follow Broadway and even I know what the Tony awards are.

    I guess the NCAA really could have said anything sports related and probably gotten over on her, talk about missing an opportunity

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