Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott wants you to exactly know how he feels about U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken‘s recent ruling in favor of granting student-athletes their likeness rights.
Hint: Scott isn’t a fan of changing the way the NCAA currently operates.
The Pac-12 released a statement to voice Scott’s displeasure…
“We fundamentally disagree with the O’Bannon court’s ruling that the NCAA and our collegiate model violate anti-trust laws in any way,” Scott stated. “Our system provides untold opportunities and beneficial life experiences for the almost 7,000 Pac-12 student-athletes every year, and we are intent on improving the system to do even more to benefit young people for generations to come. While we plan to support the NCAA on their appeal of this ruling, we will be working with our institutions to develop next steps in the event the appeal is not successful.”
The flaw in Scott’s argument is he’s counting all of the Pac-12’s student-athletes.
Wilken’s ruling wouldn’t necessarily affect athletes that participate in soccer, volleyball, field hockey, etc. The court’s decision specifically cited football and basketball as ways for the NCAA and its members to build a market from which the student-athletes couldn’t previously benefit.
“The court finds that a submarket exists in which television networks seek to acquire group licenses to use FBS football and Division I basketball players’ names, images and likenesses in live game telecasts,” Wilken wrote. “Television networks frequently enter into licensing agreements to use the intellectual property of schools, conferences, and event organizers — such as the NCAA or a bowl committee — in live telecasts of football and basketball games. In these agreements, the network often seeks to acquire the rights to use the names, images and likenesses of the participating student-athletes during the telecast.”
Non-revenue generating sports don’t necessarily fall into this category. Wilken concluded by stating nothing in the ruling “will preclude the NCAA from continuing to enforce all of its other existing rules.”
Most of the Pac-12’s sports will continue to operate as they always have. Scott and the league’s members will simply have to adjust for those programs and players which generate massive income through television, video games and merchandise.