The biggest headline from the sporting world this past week was the Ed O'Bannon trial ruling. While the National Collegiate Athletic Association has already announced that it is going to appeal the ruling that it violated anti-trust laws by preventing student-athletes from receiving payment for the use of their name and likeness, the news isn't all bad for the NCAA.
Don't be under the delusion that the ruling means that suddenly thousands of NCAA student-athletes can now sign endorsement deals with shoe companies or that schools will have to cut checks in order to use a player's image in their solicitations. That may be inevitable at this point but we're still a long ways from there.
While the fact is that in the eyes of the federal government, it is now illegal for the NCAA to bar such activity, the real effect on how the everyday business of college athletics works could be quite minimal. The ruling doesn't apply to athletic conferences or the hundreds of NCAA member institutions. It's still perfectly legal for those entities to not only bar student-athletes from being paid for the use of their name and likeness, but decline to provide such payment themselves. Judge Claudia Wilken made very clear in her ruling that the only issue before the court was whether the NCAA violated anti-trust laws by doing so. In addition, while the appeals process plays out, it is unlikely that the NCAA will change the wording in its legislation or how it enforces said rules.
In a way, the NCAA has been let off the hook from here on out. This ruling is like putting a cone on a dog's neck to keep it from licking a surgical site, allowing the wound to heal. By acting in defense of the entities that made hundreds of thousands of dollars off NCAA athletics, the NCAA became the very center of greed to the detriment of the student-athlete that it is supposed to be fighting against.
Judge Wilken has limited the power of the NCAA and in doing so, might have helped it heal and get closer to what it should be, an organization that acts in the best interest of student-athletes against economic interests that would profit off them.
In other news, the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams began their preseason slate of "games." The preseason in the National Football League is similar to an episode of "Whose Line is it Anyway." Everything is made up and the points don't matter.
Another thing worth noting is the qualification of teams from around the world for the Little League World Series. Mo’ne Davis threw a three-hit shutout to lead her team to the tournament and will become just the 18th female player in the 68-year history of the Little League World Series. South Vancouver also qualified, and Emma March will join Davis in making this year’s edition just the third time that the series will feature two female players.
Bringing it closer to home, the prep football jamborees are this Friday night, kicking off, literally, the fall sports season. I'm looking forward to experiencing my first fall here on the lake. Mind your manners, folks.