High profile anti-trust lawyer Jeff Kessler, a man who according to Bloomberg “helped bring free agency to the NFL,” is now focusing on the “unpaid athletes who generate more than $16 billion in college sports television contracts.”
The young athletes will now be represented by Winston & Strawn LLP, who is starting a division which will focus on representing the “players, coaches and schools,” against what Kessler calls “The unbridled power and influence of college sports governing body.”
Bob Lanza, a former National Basketball Association Players’ union general counsel worked with Kessler, and is now a partner at O’Neill & Lanza’s professional sports advisory firm. He comments that the NCAA should “stand up and take notice that Jeff is involved.” He also mentions that no one else would be in a better position to start this project and that no one is as qualified. Ed O’Bannon, a former All-American basketball player that is suing the NCAA over the use of his image commercially, responded to the news as he said, “Wow! Jeff Kessler.” So it seems that a heavyweight champion is now taking up this cause.
The NCAA doesn’t allow college athletes to be paid, and college athletes are taking steps to change what they consider unfair rules. And they now have a heavyweight advocating for them.