U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled against the NCAA in the Ed O’Bannon case Friday, saying that the NCAA cannot prevent college football and basketball players from selling the rights to their names, images or likenesses – a decision that could forever alter college athletics as we know it.

In fact, Dennis Dodd called Friday “the most significant day in NCAA history.”

“I don’t think there’s any question,” the CBSSports.com NCAA national writer said on The MoJo Show. “From this day forward, players can be paid. The NCAA will appeal, they may go to the Supreme Court, they may rule against it in three years – but a seal has been broken. There’s going to be pay in the future, and there’s not a damn thing the NCAA can do about it. The collegiate model is dead.”

Wilken’s ruling also allows athletes at big schools to set up a trust of sorts – $5,000 per year from money generated by television contracts – that they would receive upon leaving the school.

“This is common sense,” Dodd said. “We can argue about the amount. I’m sitting here doing the math. Combined with the cost of attendance that was allowed (Thursday) and this trust fund that the judge said can be set up to a maximum of $20,000 per player, we’re talking about players – when they graduate – being able to get a check for $40,000. That’s something. That’s not nothing.”

While the ruling applies only to college football and men’s basketball players, Dodd feels this could be the tip of the iceberg.

“You got to think Title IX is going to want a piece of this,” he said.

Dodd believes that all college-athletes will eventually control their names, images and likenesses and will be able to test or create their own market value. If so, college athletics would never be the same – not for the players, anyway.

“Look, if you put 11 chipmunks in an Oklahoma jersey and 11 chipmunks in a Nebraska jerseys and throw them out there on the field, people are still going to pay $85 a ticket to watch them,” Dodd said. “I don’t think this necessarily professionalizes them. That’s what the NCAA argued against. The judge said they were wrong.”

“Mark Emmert was asked specifically on the stand in June (whether he was) against the concept of deferred compensation – in other words, a trust fund,” Dodd continued. “Mark Emmert said, quote, ‘It’s the same whether you’re paid today or paid tomorrow. To convert college sports into professional sports would be tantamount to converting it to minor league sports.’ In Mark Emmert’s eyes, guys, the NCAA just turned pro.”

Many would argue that it already was. After all, Emmert makes millions of dollars each year, so why can’t the players benefit also?

“That’s part of the incongruity of it,” Dodd said. “Sooner or later – and that later was (Friday) – you can’t have $7-million coaches and kids not getting something.”

In other NCAA developments, Dodd discussed four gentlemen who are revolutionizing college football analysis. Drew Borland, Marty Couvillon, Scott Prather and Stephen Prather of SportsSource Analytics are essentially bringing sabermeterics to the college game, making it about more than just turnover margin, yards allowed and red-zone defense.

“I’m not a big baseball sabermetrics guy, and I always wondered if it would ever come to college football and in what form – and it has,” Dodd said. “It fascinates me. I know there’s a lot of coaches getting into this stuff.”

They’re not the only ones. SportsSource Analytics will be the data analytics platform provider for the College Football Playoff.

“They can tell you pretty much everything about a team, a player or a coach except their underwear size,” Dodd said. “It’s amazing.”


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