Posted October 01, 2013

Report: Lawyer starting firm to represent college athletes

NCAAB
Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was sent home from the Manning camp. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

College athletes like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel could soon be represented by lawyers. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

A lawyer who helped bring free agency to the National Football League is set to focus on the unpaid athletes who generate more than $16 billion in college sports television contracts, reports Bloomberg.com.

According to the report, Jeff Kessler, a lawyer from New York-based Winston & Strawn is starting the first college-focused division at a major law firm to represent players, coaches, schools and conferences against what Kessler described as “the unbridled power and influence” of the NCAA.

Kessler, 59, has represented the interests of athletes ranging from Michael Jordan to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“The NCAA should stand up and take notice that Jeff is involved,” said Bob Lanza, a former National Basketball Association players’ union general counsel who worked alongside Kessler and is now a partner in O’Neill & Lanza, a professional sports advisory firm. “I can’t think of anybody more qualified to start this type of department.”

“If players coming out of high school had some type of representation, or if somebody like Jeff initially made sure the players are represented in the right fashion, where both parties are happy with the deal, then a lot of this stuff wouldn’t even happen,” said former UCLA college basketball star Ed O’Bannon.

EA Sports agreed last week to settle a lawsuit brought by former college athletes over use of their likeness in video games.


8 comments
nlknlk7442
nlknlk7442

Chessmaster is correct.  The sport will change drastically if kids need more than an education to play.  The Big commissioner has already laid out the ground rules.  The sport will let the hot shots transition directly to the pros.  College football will mimic baseball.  Receipts will fall off and minor sports and women's sports will either earn more of their own way or be dropped.   College sport will not be commercialized by paid athletes.  That would be unacceptable to most boards.  There is already a major rub with academics.

Chessmaster
Chessmaster

1. I'm betting the courts will uphold college's amateur status, but this weasel will cause them monstrous legal headaches and costs. But... IF he is successful to any meaningful degree...

2. College sports as we know it will cease to exist. Secondary sports will dry up from lack of funding, and any semi-pro form of football will fail with fans... gradually or immediately.

Just one more example of the strangling grip that blatant greed has on our country/species. We truly deserve the asteroid that is headed our way.

bubbalooey
bubbalooey

Next this weasel will be on High School grounds trying to recruit, what a scam, professional football has turned into who can maim the most people instead of sportsmanship, like it used to be.  Football like boxing is going downhill fast.......

Aggie81
Aggie81

And how much will the law firm collect while representing the players ?

mjw149
mjw149

$16 billion.  Those hypocrite millionaire coaches and ADs and bowl directors have enougn money to pay the people who actually do the work, I think.  If it's such a great deal why doesn't Nick Saban accept University of Alabama tuition as salary?

Chessmaster
Chessmaster

@mjw149 You're totally correct about the big $ coaches/schools/bowls... they all thought they were so clever in manipulating the once pure college football into a money tree, with every advantage given to the elite schools to get the biggest slices. But they didn't figure on the ultimate of greedy snakes (lawyers) usurping their little empire.

But if you think that cutting in the players is an answer... forget it; that's really opening up the proverbial can of worms.

bubbalooey
bubbalooey

@mjw149   The money college football "makes" goes to pay for the rest of the sports programs that the "Government" mandates, female sports that nobody cares about........