BILL NEAL :10 Curtis Martin will go into the NFL Hall of Fame as quiet and soft spoken as any man can and for those of us that had the pleasure of knowing him you know two things about Curtis is true. No. 1 He is a soft spoken man and No. 2 he was a tough, quick, no excuse, get it done, never say die, consistent, durable running back. Who among us, who can think back to his days at Allderdice or for that matter at Pitt, thought that he would become one of the top five running backs in Pro Football history? Congratulations Curtis, you deserve all you’ve achieved; and Congrats to you too “Mama Rochella” you played a major role in your son’s success.:09 I am rolling this in at #9 because… If it ain’t the Steelers it don’t matter…but I told ya the Giants would beat New England. Oh shut up and just check your Courier last week and you’ll see it. New York won the game not because of Eli Manning but because they have a tough hardnosed defense and you all know defense wins championships.:08 Speaking of the Super Bowl, I don’t know where you watched the game but you should have been at J.T’s Restaurant at “The Club” in Monroeville. We kicked it off with a special two hour taping of “Champions Live” sports talk show followed up by a great crowd enjoying the game with the best soul food money can buy.:07 Speaking of the club…are you starting to see the flow here? Artistree blew up the Champions First Friday old School Par-tay with their classic old school style, great stage presence and second to none vocals. Then you throw in the unbelievable voice of veteran performer “Chico,” a super talent who got the crowd heated up…not warmed up, the craziness of Pittsburgh comedian “Frog” and of course the fabulous Diamond Models. Now you mix that all together with 250 of our best First Friday supporters and MAN you got a PAR-TAY!!!:06 There’s one way and one way only to stop Lebron James but it’s not legal and you will get jail time. Another 30-point game…Lebron C’MON MAN!:05 It’s a shame that I have to keep reminding you all of this but I do what I have to do. Get out and support your local high school basketball team. The playoffs are coming and “OUR KIDS” need your support so stop with your excuses and get off your “BUTT” and go to the games. And not just one…keep going until they are done!!!:04 Eli Manning now joins a super group of elite quarterbacks that have won two or more Super Bowl MVP’S including Terry Bradshaw, Bart Star, Joe Montana and Tom Brady. What’s wrong with this picture? And for the record I could challenge if Eli was the MVP of the Super Bowl. It could have been running back Ahmad Bradshaw or punter Steve Weatherford.:03 If Coach Herman Edwards knows so much about football how come he didn’t show it when he was coaching. I don’t usually do this but here’s your second… C’MON MAN!!!:02 Pitt Basketball is back, that’s it, I told you they would be.:01 AT THE BUZZER:•Don’t’ miss “Champions Live” sports talk show on PCTV channel 21.•Five Starr Corporation/Champion Enterprises “Tip-Off” Reception at the Cambria Suites Hotel Feb. 17, 6-10 p.m. Meet and greet Pittsburgh’s African-American authors, Artistree and The Fabulous Diamond Models. Cash bar, cash kitchen, free parking, photos with your favorite star. $20 donation celebrating Black History Month.•“Volley With The Stars” volleyball tournament coming soon. Get your team ready for more fun than you can stand. More info coming next week.~Game Over~
In this Sept. 18, 2010, file photo, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon Jr. sits in his office in Henderson, Nev. Five years after the former UCLA star filed his antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, it goes to trial Monday, June 9, 2014, in a California courtroom. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File) Some believe it could upend the way college sports operate. Others say Ed O’Bannon’s legal crusade against the NCAA already has.Five years after the former UCLA star filed his antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, it goes to trial Monday in a California courtroom. The stakes are high in the biggest challenge yet to the NCAA’s authority to operate college sports at a time when big money makes so-called “amateur” sports look an awful like the pros.Here’s a look at the issues surrounding the case:Q. What is this trial about?A. The NCAA is being sued by O’Bannon and others over the use of their images in broadcasts and video games without compensation. They will argue at trial that the NCAA has acted as a cartel in violation of federal antitrust laws by conspiring to keep players from making money while at the same time pocketing billions of dollars in big television contracts. The NCAA contends that rules on “amateurism” are necessary to retain competitive balance and that a successful lawsuit could create a free-for-all that will seriously damage college athletics.Q. What are the plaintiffs asking for?A. In the short term, not much. The 20 named plaintiffs dropped their demands for money in damages a few weeks before the trial in a strategic move to narrow the scope of the case. But they are asking for the judge to rule in their favor and issue an injunction that would prohibit the NCAA from enforcing rules against paying players for the use of their images in broadcasts. Lawyers for the plaintiffs will also argue they deserve reimbursement for legal fees that they said exceeded $30 million even before the trial. “Just to get to trial alone is huge,” said Jon King, an attorney handling several related cases. “To obtain an injunction will be revolutionary.”Q. Why would a win be so important?A. This is the first time a challenge to the way the NCAA operates has gotten this far. It is part of a broader effort to change the way major college sports are operated that includes several other lawsuits challenging various NCAA regulations and a unionization effort that won a vote for football players at Northwestern earlier this year. Plaintiffs and others claim that there is no real amateurism in a college sports industry where coaches make millions, administrators are well paid and everyone profits except the athletes providing the labor. “O’Bannon represents a watershed moment for the NCAA,” said Northeastern University School of Law professor Roger Abrams, an expert in sports and antitrust law. “When combined with the Northwestern football team unionization effort, the case raises the question whether the NCAA must totally re-conceptualize its approach to regulating college athletics.”Q. What will we find out during trial?A. There will be a lot of testimony about the huge amounts of money coming into college sports, literally billions of dollars for the conferences and the NCAA from television rights deals. At least two conferences — The Big 12 and Conference USA — made last-minute challenges in court to keep their television deals secret, arguing they would be at a competitive disadvantage if other conferences and schools knew exactly what the terms of those deals are. There will also be testimony on the NCAA side about the many benefits athletes get while in college, including tuition, room and board and tutors to help them get degrees.Q. Will other athletes, say swimmers or golfers, get something from this?A. No, the class-action suit is limited to football players and Division I basketball players. Those two sports are the biggest revenue generators for colleges.Q. Why haven’t they settled?A. The NCAA says it can’t budge on the fundamental question of paying players, because doing so would upend the model of college sports. The organization also believes many of the lawsuits are lawyer-driven and says athletes are treated better than ever and happier than ever. The plaintiffs did reach a separate settlement with videogame maker EA Sports and the Collegiate for $40 million that will allow some payments to former players. The NCAA dismissed that by saying “the real benefactors of this settlement are the lawyers, who could pocket more than $15 million.”Q. Will this lead to pay-for-play in college sports?A. Not right away, though the pressure brought by unionization attempts and lawsuits has already led to proposals for the five biggest college conferences to increase scholarship money and change other rules to benefit athletes. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the whole college sports system doesn’t need to be blown up, but there are remedies that will help athletes prosper while at the same time keeping a structure to control college athletics. They’re suggesting the establishment of a trust funded by the NCAA and its schools that would take money for the use of player images and dole it out to individual players — but only after they’re done with school. “Notwithstanding the NCAA’s conjecture that the sky will fall, an unfettered market will not bring college athletics to a halt,” attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote in a trial brief.