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STUDENT NEWS

State of the Union; Lunar New Year Celebrations in China; Ed O`Bannon`s Lawsuit against NCAA to Get College Athletes Paid

Aired January 28, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: It`s Tuesday, January 28 when American politics play a starring role in prime time. From article two, section three of the U.S. Constitution, "The president shall from time to time give Congress information of the state of the union. It doesn`t say when, it doesn`t say how. It could be in a letter like President Jefferson sent to Congress. It could be on the radio like President Coolidge first delivered in 1923. First time on TV, it was with President Truman in 1947, first time online, President George W. Bush in 2002. President Obama gives his annual message tonight at 9 P.M. Eastern. However you see it, and the official response to it. You`ll see more tradition than constitutional requirement.

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TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s a report card and it`s a prognostication. It is the president saying this is what I would like to do in the coming year. The State of the Union is essentially a homework assignment from the framers of the Constitution to every president who has lived ever since. The Constitution tells them that they periodically must tell Congress how the country is doing if a president wants to lean hard to one side, or hard to the other side. Then, you might see more political purpose in the State of the Union, although often it`s just a general sense of let`s move this direction.

The whole thing is a huge pageant. The president comes walking in escorted by members of the House and Senate, the sergeant of arms announces him and everybody stands and cheers. And there`s quite a crowd there. Everyone has assigned seating. Right behind the president you will find the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. And the president of the Senate, which will be the vice president of the United States. And then the two parties generally, generally stay on their side of the aisle although recently they`ve started seating with each other to suggest that they can get along a little bit better than most of us think.

You typically have the Supreme Court there, the Joint Chiefs of Stuff where they are representing the military, and the first lady will also be there, usually with some sort of special guest in recent years that will illustrate some point the president is making.

One of the coolest parts of the presidential address is always the missing cabinet member and fearing out who it`s going to be. One member of the cabinet always has to be somewhere else in case something terrible happened, so presumably you could have the Secretary of Agriculture seating somewhere thinking about hog (ph) futures, and suddenly he is the president of the United States, which would be a huge shock to him.

Since the 1960s, the opposition has also issued a response. That is someone selected by the opposing party to stand up and refute what the president said or say, perhaps, we have different ideas about how the government should be conducting itself and where we should be going in the coming year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the "Shoutout." What animal is associated with the Chinese New Year that begins this Friday? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: the dragon, monkey, ox, or horse? You`ve got three seconds, go!

The Chinese New Year beginning on January, 31, will kick off the year of the horse. That`s your answer and that`s your shoutout.

AZUZ: Chinese New Year usually falls between January, 21 and February 20th on the Gregorian calendar. Celebrations traditionally last for 15 days, it is the most important social festival for the world`s most populated country.

And because time with family is central to it, you can imagine what traveling is like when it seems like everyone is trying to get home.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lunar New Year, it`s China`s biggest holiday, and for many the only opportunity to reunite with that families during the year.

That means hundreds of millions of people are on the move. On Monday, Shanghai`s train station was packed with travelers living the city for rural provinces.

According to China`s state news agency nearly 7 million travel by train each day over the past weekend.

LU ZHENGTING, TRAVELLING TO SHANGDONG PROVINCE (through translator): Everyone like us is eager to go back home for a reunion dinner, and a good Lunar New Year with their parents. People like us wouldn`t feel good if we cannot get home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With a busy travel period reaching its peak, many were still scrambling for a ticket home. This map from China`s Baidu search engine highlights busy travel routes for what`s considered to be the world`s largest annual mass migration.

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AZUZ: The NCAA, the National Collegian Athletic Association oversees many sports to the U.S. college level. Players in these sports may get scholarships, they may get exposure, they may get picked up by a pro-team. They don`t get paid. The NCAA is a not for profit organization, and it gives a lot of money back to schools, but because it also takes in huge revenues, the debate over paying players is getting louder.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For most sport fans, Ed O`Bannon is the UCLA NVP who almost 20 years ago won a college basketball national championship. It was a night and a feeling he says he`ll never forget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

ED O`BANNON, FORMER UCLA BASKETBALL PLAYER: All right, see you .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, O`Bannon sells cars at a Toyota dealership in Henderson, Nevada and helps coach his son`s high school basketball team.

O`BANNON: Get in there!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is also the plaintiff in a multibillion dollar lawsuit that could change college sports forever.

O`BANNON: I want to write a wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O`Bannon thinks division one, football and basketball players who help bring in millions, should be paid. He filed a suite in 2009 after seeing himself in a videogame. Since then, his case has picked up so much momentum that many believe the NCAA may eventually be forced to come up with a way to compensate players. Opponents say if you do that, you`re going to lose fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (on camera): How much of this is about you making money?

O`BANNON: None, whatsoever. Me personally? No, I don`t care to make anything. I never got in to this to make money. Things need to change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): O`Bannon acknowledges college athletes are getting paid in the form of scholarships, but he argues they are pushed to win, not to graduate.

O`BANNON: A lot of guys don`t have anything to show for their effort when they go to school, because they put everything into their particular craft, and once it`s done, life kind of chews them up and spits them out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ed O`Bannon from UCLA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O`Bannon was drafted after college by the New Jersey Nets and signed a $3.9 million contract, while his NBA career turned out to be short, he says the money he saved helped him transition back into the real world, something many college athletes struggle with.

O`BANNON: My basketball career was a lot of fun, but this here is more impactful, and I`m very proud to be a part of it. I`m not going to ruin college sports. College sports is changing. The rules need to change. The game is evolving, the players are evolving, the rules need to also - there`s need to do the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people disagree with that, O`Bannon, including the NCAA that issued a statement to us, a lengthy one, which basically pointed out that "430,000 students athletes are funded each year by the NCAA and 96 percent of the money they make goes back to the schools. They say as a membership organization, our members do not support the professionalization of college athletes as it would destroy the model of athletics that provides abundant opportunities, both on and off the field to hundreds of thousands of student athletes. Each year the NCAA will continue to preserve the collegian model and defend against factually and legally unfounded claims. The Ed O`Bannon lawsuit is scheduled to take place this summer, and a lot of people will be watching.

The states on today`s CNN STUDENT NEWS "Roll Call". 48, 49 and 50. Arizona is the 48th state, the Kings of Kofa High School get our first mention. They are watching in Yuma, Arizona. In the 49 state, say hello to the Cougars of Eek School. They are in Alaska. And in Hawaii, the 50 state admitted to the union we want to recognize the students of Punahou School who are checking out CNN STUDENT NEWS from Honolulu.

Three miles separating us from today` finish line. Race number, check, running shoes, check, gorilla suite? Check out this 5K in Austin, Texas. It may look like folks here just mocking around, but it`s all fur a good cause. They are raising money to help endangered mountain gorillas in Africa. They are believed to be fewer than 900 of those left, so you can see why some generous joggers just go bananas at the chance to help. They look like they had a gorilla good time. It`s a primate way to get in shape, and if you thought they were just suiting up because it suited them, well, things aren`t always as they seem (ph). We`ll see you Wednesday on CNN STUDENT NEWS.

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