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And he remembers a lot of wealthy people paying big money to sit courtside at Pauley Pavilion to watch them perform.

“The revenue that’s generated is through the roof - and they play in domes with tall roofs,” O'Bannon said. “Yet the players get nothing.”

There are settlement talks ordered by the judge, but O'Bannon says he will not sell out his basic principles for a long overdue paycheck. Come June 9 he expects to be in a California courtroom challenging a system he believes is unjust.

“I’m prepared to go to trial,” he said. “It’s never been about monetary gain. It’s all about changing the rules and making sure the players, both present and former, are represented as well.”

Lofty goals, sure, but O'Bannon is on a crusade. He believes deeply in his cause and says he won’t back down.

And that should make the people who run college sports more than just a little nervous.


Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at or