Campus Clips: USC AD Pat Haden Warns of Seismic Impact of Ed O’Bannon Case; Quinnipiac, Yale Athletic Departments Prep for Frozen Four

Compiled by Brandon Costa, Senior Editor, Sports Video Group

USC athletic director Pat Haden says he’s concerned the NCAA may lose the pending Ed O’Bannon antitrust suit regarding the commercialization of college athletes. He is encouraging conference and national colleagues to start discussing contingency plans.

“We ought to be kept abreast of it at all times, and we ought to prepare for it in case we lose,” said Haden, a former practicing attorney and businessman who became an athletic director in 2010. “I haven’t followed the case closely, but what I read from legal scholars, it’s not a slam dunk for the NCAA.”

The case, filed by former UCLA basketball star O’Bannon in 2009 and eventually expanded to include high-profile co-plaintiffs like Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell, initially focused solely on the use of former athletes’ likeness in products such as EA Sports’ NCAA video games, for which the individuals are not compensated. (EA Sports is a co-defendant.) However, in a motion for class certification filed last August, the plaintiffs contended that both current and former athletes should be included in the case and argued they are entitled to 50 percent of revenue generated by NCAA and conference television contracts.

In other words, it has become a pay-for-play case.

“The context of the lawsuit has changed. What do we do if we lost?” Haden said of the NCAA’s side. “All of a sudden your television revenue — let’s say it’s $20 million a year [for a school]. Now if they win, it’s $10 million a year. How do you make your 21 sports work on half the revenue?”…

…For Yale, it’s their first trip to the Frozen Four men’s ice hockey championships since 1952. For Quinnipiac, it’s the school’s first appearance ever. So how does a school’s athletic department handle a sudden burst of stardom? Chris Hunn of the Post Chronicle gives an inside look at the work that goes on behind the scenes at athletic departments not exactly accustomed to planning for one of the biggest stages in college sports…

…More dominoes are falling in the conference realignment saga. Conference USA will add Western Kentucky at the same time the league’s most recent football champion plans to leave. Commissioner Britton Banowsky said Monday that Western Kentucky will officially join C-USA on July 1, 2014. That is when Tulsa, the defending Conference USA football champion, is expected to join a migration to the league that’ll no longer be known as the Big East. Tulsa plans to announce Tuesday that it will join the Big East football schools in their soon-to-be renamed league in 2014, sources told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy…

…Statzhub, the new sports statistics website started by a Cincinnati entrepreneur, has finalized a partnership with the University of Cincinnati. The deal means UC is promoting the website to its fan and alumni base. It’s the first major partnership for Statzhub and could give the fledgling company its first significant base of paying customers.

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