Quotes from Ed O’Bannon press conference on Aug. 9, 2014 in Las Vegas regarding the NCAA trial ruling:
“Thank you all for coming out today. First, I would like to thank Michael Hausfeld and his legal staff. I would thank (Findlay Toyota manager) Rich Abajian and his staff for their patience and support. I would also like to thank Pam & Sonny Vaccaro for their continued support. I must mention Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and Harry Flournoy as they were each instrumental in me being here today. Without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the past five years. I would like to thank Judge Claudia Wilken and the court for being fair in its judgment. And last but not least, my wife, Rosa and our three kids. You guys have been great throughout this process. I love you and thank you for all you have done.
“This has been a long five-year process but I am very happy with the judgment and result. Looking back on the lawsuit, there have been a lot of twists and turns, peaks and valleys, but through it all, I just wanted to be the guy to help the college athletes.
“I want to be clear on a few things, I didn’t set out to be the bad guy and we didn’t bankrupt college athletics with this suit. We didn’t set out to do that. Football Saturdays in the fall are still going to be special and the tournament in March will still have the madness.
“As for me personally, I woke up this morning and my bank account is the same. I did not make a dime off this lawsuit. We did this strictly and solely for the betterment of the college athlete.”
Q – How tough was this and did you ever think about giving up?
“I never even thought about giving up or stopping. Michael Hausfeld and his legal team, as well as Rosa and I, set out to help the current and future college athletes. Of course there were bad days but at the very least, we thought it was important to see this through to the end.”
Q – Is this a major victory now or for the future college athletes?
“It is a major victory now and is a major step forward for the future. It is a big victory now because the process has been so long and there have been countless lawsuits prior to this one that didn’t get this far. There were walls that were broken down to get here today and that itself is a victory. However, make no mistake, the ruling from Judge Wilken is for the future. There is change coming and with that comes a lot of possibilities.”
Q – Are you pushing for a “pay for play” model or are the limits in the ruling enough?
“My biggest thing to this point has been that college athletes have the right to control their likeness while in school and after leaving. It’s a basic human right to control your image and fortunately Judge Wilken sees it that way. We are only 24 hours removed from the ruling so the exact dollar amounts will be determined at the right time. I can say that as of right now, $5,000 for a college athlete is $5,000 more than they were receiving a week ago.”
Q – What are the next steps?
“I am expecting appeals of course. Once that happens you just roll with it and take it as it comes. At this very moment, it’s starting to hit home for me and I’m just happy for the past, present and future college athletes. We have taken a huge step forward for the kids yet to come.”
Q – How instrumental was Sonny Vaccaro?
“Mr. Vaccaro was very instrumental, especially at the beginning. Once I saw my likeness being used in a video game, I felt like I had to say something and try to right a wrong. Mr. Vaccaro and I spoke shortly thereafter and he provided that voice in me to stand up and be heard. He has been a great resource throughout all of this and I value the great relationship that we have developed over the past few decades.”
Q – What toll did this take on you and your family?
“It was tough and I’m glad it is over. When you do something like this and there is no monetary gain at the end, there are certain pressures that you feel and endure. You just have to persevere and see it though to the end. I have three kids, two in college and one on the way there, and it is a struggle with teenagers and young adults in making them appreciate what people do for them. All I hope for is the college athletes that will benefit from this recognize the hard work of so many people that were involved.”