Ed O'Bannon confirmed to CBSSports.com he will testify next week at Senate hearings concerning the current state of college athletics.
The Chronicle of Higher Education first reported that O'Bannon and North Carolina whistleblower Mary Willingham had been invited to speak U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The hearings are scheduled for next Wednesday.
Committee chair Jay Rockefeller IV (D-West Virginia) has reportedly invited two significant figures for those criticizing the NCAA. Willingham recently resigned at North Carolina citing a hostile work environment. The former athletic academic advisor at the school has alleged she was dealing with athletes who were reading at barely literate levels.
O'Bannon is the lead plaintiff in the landmark anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA seeking compensation for players likenesses and imagines. The suit is due to begin June 9. O'Bannon told CBSSports.com he was not sure of the exact talking points but that he was eager to participate.
“It's amazing when a few guys come together and have a dream and it eventually kind of comes to reality,” O'Bannon said of the attention being paid to the NCAA case. “It's nice. I'm loving it. We've been at this so long, and people are finally taking it serious. First and foremost, I've always said this has never been a money grab. This is something a whole lot deeper than that.”
The Chronicle also reported – and O'Bannon reiterated -- that NCAA president Mark Emmert had also been invited to the hearings.
An NCAA spokesman said it could not comment until the Senate committee and chairman release the list of participants. Calls to Rockefeller's office seeking comment were not immediately returned.