NCAA president takes stand in O’Bannon trial

OAKLAND, Calif. — NCAA President Mark Emmert has taken the witness stand and is defending his organization’s role in college sports. He calls such a role vital for both students and the colleges themselves.

Emmert says sports unites campuses and helps schools recruit faculty and students. He says the athletes learn life lessons from competing at all levels and he couldn’t imagine universities without sports.

His testimony Thursday came in a much-anticipated appearance as the NCAA tries to convince a federal judge that its system of so-called amateurism is not anti-competitive and is the best model for regulating college sports.

Plaintiffs led by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon are seeking an injunction that would allow players to band together and sell the rights to their names and likenesses in broadcasts.

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