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Doug Robinson: Welcome to NCAAland — a country completely independent of the U.S.

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 27 2013 10:27 a.m. MST

It's a reminder of the case of Jeremy Bloom, who was forced to choose between his professional skiing career and his football career, except in this case his other "job" was lucrative. As a result, he gave up the final two years of his college football career to pursue the Olympics. Why should he have to make such a choice? Because NCAAland still embraces the old-school notion of amateurism. Talk about hypocrisy. NCAAland makes millions off the athletes, and denies athletes opportunities to make money even outside of their collegiate sport.

Nowhere is the NCAA hypocrisy on greater display than in the following case. For years NCAAland has profited from video games that use the likenesses of collegiate athletes while the players received nothing. How much money are we talking about? According to Sports Illustrated, EA Sports — the video gamemaker — pays NFL players $35 million a year. A few years ago Ed O'Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player, saw his image in an EA video game and filed a lawsuit. The NCAA said O'Bannon gave away such rights by signing a "student-athlete statement," allowing NCAAland to sell his image forever. As Sports Illustrated indicates, how fair is this that an 18-year-old signed such an agreement without legal representation?

NCAAland has tried three times in three years to get the case dismissed and failed each time. The NCAA can either pay out billions in a settlement or take it to the courtroom.

It's the athlete-students v. the NCAAland dictatorship. It's doubtful anyone will be cheering for NCAAland.

email: drob@desnews.com

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