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Settlement talks next step in Ed O’Bannon lawsuit

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After U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken denied the NCAA’s request to have the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit dismissed last Friday, it seemed as if the case would be headed to trial in June. However on Friday it was reported by Jon Solomon of AL.com that Wilken has demanded that the two parties begin settlement talks.

The NCAA is the lone defendant in this case with Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company having tentatively agreed to settle with the plaintiffs, and as a result of that action the NCAA sued EA and the CLC. For the plaintiffs this case is about football and basketball players receiving the right to be compensated for the use of their likeness and image.

As for the NCAA, this is about maintaining a status quo that has existed for years regardless of the many changes in collegiate athletics.

Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer, said in a statement: “The NCAA will of course participate in the court-ordered mediation, however, we will continue to protect the core principles of the collegiate model.”

Not connected to this news is the symposium being held by the Penn Law Entertainment and Sports Law Society this weekend in Philadelphia. One topic that has come up for discussion is the concept of “pay for play,” and it should be noted that this is not a goal of the plaintiffs in the O’Bannon lawsuit. But given the possible impact that such a change could have on college athletics, there have been no shortage of opinions on the matter from some of the panelists.

It’s safe to say that the Navy AD should have gone with “inmates running the asylum” as opposed to “animals running the zoo.” But that point aside, those statements seem to fall in line with what’s been said by many opponents of student-athletes being paid. If student-athletes are paid all hell is bound to break loose and college athletics will crumble as a result.

However to focus solely on the relationship between the athlete and the college may be a bit shortsighted when discussing the value of the scholarship education athletes receive. How much value is there for the individual that shows up on campus lacking the educational tools needed to take advantage of this opportunity? How much are they really learning? Or is it simply an exercise in making sure the athlete remains eligible for competition?

The answers to those questions depend on the institution, with there being a few cases of programs placing greater importance on remaining eligible as opposed to truly making strides in the classroom. And the matter of a student’s preparedness entering college is the responsibility of the high schools, because if the job isn’t being done at that level is it realistic to expect the student to excel in college?

The O’Bannon lawsuit may end up changing the very structure of collegiate athletics as we know it, but to think that monetary compensation is the lone issue would be a mistake. At some point the academic issues will need to be addressed as well, especially if we’re to believe that a scholarship is acceptable as the primary form of “income” for student-athletes.

Five-star 2017 point guard Trevon Duval down to 10 schools

CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Trevon Duval during the 2015  Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)
(Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)
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Five-star point guard Trevon Duval is the most electrifying lead guard in the Class of 2017. The native of Delaware dominated the Under Armour circuit this spring and is currently regarded by many as a top-five player in the class by most recruiting services.

Now he’s down to 10 schools as his recruiting is starting to become more of a focus. The 6-foot-2 Duval is down to Arizona, Cal, Kansas, Maryland, Oregon, St. John’s, Seton Hall, UCLA, USC and Villanova.

Things are still early in the process for Duval and it will be interesting to see if he schedules any official visits soon.

Ohio State gaining recruiting momentum with two 2018 commitments

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 24: Head coach Thad Matta of the Ohio State Buckeyes claps on the sideline in the first half against the Iowa State Cyclones during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 24, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Ohio State has lost quite a few transfers and hasn’t had a lot go their way with regards to recent recruiting, but things could be changing after a good weekend.

The Class of 2018 is starting to look really good for the Buckeyes as they landed commitments from wings Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens this weekend. The two in-state products are grassroots teammates together on King James and they give Ohio State three commitments in that class.

Bazley is considered a four-star prospect on Rivals while Ahrens checks in as a three-star. They join another Ohio native, guard Dane Goodwin, in the class as this could be the group that helps bring Ohio State back in regular Big Ten contention.

Butler lands commitment from four-star 2017 forward Kyle Young

Atlanta, GA - SUNDAY, MAY 29: Nike EYBL. Kyle Young #34 of King James Session 4. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
(Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Butler picked up an important commitment on Monday as four-star forward Kyle Young committed to the Bulldogs.

A Class of 2017 stretch forward who can hit jumpers and has an improving skill set, the 6-foot-7 Young comes from Massillon, Ohio and he’s regarded as the No. 109 overall prospect.

Young was impressive in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer with King James as he averaged 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as he shot 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.

This is a nice grab for Butler as Young is the type of versatile perimeter shooter that they like to utilize and he should be able to help a bit on the glass as well.

Young joins a class that includes guards Cooper Neese and Jerald Butler.

VIDEO: Collin Sexton with a trick shot for the ages

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.33.34 PM
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Earlier this summer, we told you the story of Collin Sexton, how the 6-foot-2 Georgia native went from being a mid-major recruit to a five-star prospect being courted by the likes of Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina and Villanova.

It’s because he’s a bucket-getter.

     RELATED: Making A Five Star

He averaged 31 points in the Nike EYBL circuit, nine points better than Michael Porter, who finished second in the league in scoring. No one puts points on the board like he does, so it’s only fitting that he was the guy that made a shot from the balcony during ‘The Trip’, Nike’s effort to keep kids associated with their brand from Elite 24:

Lonzo Ball struggled on UCLA’s Australian tour

Lonzo Ball (UCLA Athletics)
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UCLA capped their three-game trip to Australia on Sunday night with a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets, a game in which sophomore point guard Aaron Holiday finished with a team-high 17 points. Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton both added 16 points and freshman Ike Anigbogu finished with 13 points and 10 boards.

This win came just two days after the Bruins lost to Melbourne United, 89-84, when Hamilton — 18 points and five assists — and Holiday — 16 points — were both once again impressive. Alford also added 18 points in Friday’s loss.

It’s not surprising that the Bruins had some up and down performances abroad. Everyone does. It’s what happens when a team of college kids, with three freshmen playing key roles, heads to the other side of the world to square off against teams made up of professionals. Don’t go hanging the ‘Fire Steve Alford’ banners on anymore airplanes just yet.

There are, however, two interesting things to consider from this trip:

– Lonzo Ball, UCLA’s star freshman, was, at best, their fourth-best perimeter player. Seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford and sophomore Aaron Holiday all played well and posted impressive numbers on the three-game trip. Ball? He didn’t shoot well. At all. In UCLA’s 47-point opening win, he was 3-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-3 from three, putting together was was by far his best shooting performance of the trip. In the three games, he shot a total of 25 percent (9-36) from the field and 19 percent (4-21) from three. He did average 5.0 assists and, in one game, notched 13 boards, but Ball’s ability to shoot will be something to keep an eye on.

– And then there’s this, from Bryce Alford:

UCLA needs to travel with more towels.