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No more student-athletes?

For years, it's been a bit of a joke around NCAA tournament time. Want to rile up an NCAA official? Raise your hand in a heavily scripted press conference and say "I have a question for one of the players." The term student-athlete is used by the NCAA and its member institutions reminding us that these are not professional athletes being compensated by the established rules of capitalism but students who also happen to be athletes. 

In reality, the term was in part applied back in the 1960s when the NCAA first started allowing scholarships, or grants-in-aid, lest someone get several injured and demand workman's compensation.

But there is a possibility the use of "student-athlete" may be on the outs. That's one of the lessons learned from recently released evidence in a lawsuit by former college players (er, student-athletes) against the NCAA. Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon is one of several athletes looking for class-action status in their legal battle with the NCAA. 

The crux of the case is that the NCAA violated anti-trust laws by not allowing athletes to be compensated above the value of a scholarship (tuition, room, board, books and fees) particularly when it comes to licensing products, such as video games, which include individual likenesses.

The released documents in the discovery phase depict debate within the NCAA as to how commercialenterprises fit into the notion of "student-athlete" and the governance of compensation.

For the complete look at the latest information, check out the story on ESPN.com.

--- Amy Moritz

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