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College Sports Law Blog



Kent State University v. Gene Ford: Court of Appeals Upholds Liquidated Damages Provision

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 19 January 2015 17:55

In April 2008, Gene Ford (“Ford”) and Kent State University (“KSU”) executed an employment agreement making Ford the head men’s basketball coach at KSU for a period of four years with an option for a fifth year. The contract contained a liquidated damages provision that stated:

Read more... [Kent State University v. Gene Ford: Court of Appeals Upholds Liquidated Damages Provision]
 

Michigan Governor Signs Law Excluding Student-Athletes from the Definition of Public Employee for the Purposes of Collective Bargaining

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:39

In mid-December 2014, Michigan State Representative Al Pscholka introduced House Bill 6074 that was recently signed into law by Michigan Governor Rick Synder. Under Michigan law, a public employee is “an individual holding a position by appointment or employment in the government of this state, in the government of 1 or more of the political subdivisions of this state, in the public school service, in a public or special district, in the service of an authority, commission, or board, or in any other branch of the public service.” The new law excludes student-athletes from the definition by stating “[a]n individual serving as a graduate student research assistant or in an equivalent position, a student participating in intercollegiate athletics on behalf of a public university in this state, or any individual whose position does not have sufficient indicia of an employer-employee relationship using the 20-factor test announced by the internal revenue service of the United States department of treasury in revenue ruling 87-41, 1987-1 C.B. 296 is not a public employee entitled to representation or collective bargaining rights under this act.” Accordingly, student-athletes at public institutions (i.e., Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, etc.) are not considered employees and, thus, not afforded the opportunity to join a union for the purposes of collective bargaining.

Read more... [Michigan Governor Signs Law Excluding Student-Athletes from the Definition of Public Employee for the Purposes of Collective Bargaining]
 

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Georgia

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 20:32

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of Georgia (“UGA”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation.   This case involves the head women's and men's swimming and diving coach's provision of an impermissible benefit to a men's student-athlete and that coach's failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance at UGA. The Committee considered the record, including the parties' submissions, presentations and information developed at the October 16, 2014, hearing. The Committee concluded that the head coach provided an impermissible benefit to a student-athlete in his program and failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

Read more... [The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Georgia]
 

The Coaching Carousel Begins

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 14:55

College football coaching jobs are opening right and left with some of the top programs in the country searching for new coaches.  The lawyers' role in today's coaching searches has certainly grown in recent years.  Lawyers are preparing clients for open jobs by creating marketing materials, working the phone lines, and providing coaches with information on institutions, involved individuals, and the locale of the institutions.  Then, if the coach is selected for and accepts the job, the lawyer is asked to negotiate the terms of agreement.  Coaching contracts have grown from handshake deals to extensive documents that require knowledge of contract law, tax law, intercollegiate athletics, NCAA and conference rules, and a plethora of other matters and areas of law.  In 2008, I drafted "There Are No Handshake Deals in College Coaching Contracts," which is an article that discusses the major topics addressed in coaching contracts including compensation, termination provisions, due process provisions, and other considerations.  This article provides a good overview of the matters to consider when negotiating a college coaching contract.

Read more... [The Coaching Carousel Begins]
 

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Alaska Fairbanks (Division I and Division II)

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 17:25

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (“UAF”) is a member of Division II of the NCAA and also sponsors Division I men’s ice hockey. As a result, this matter is a cross-divisional case. The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions and NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions (collectively “Committees”) recently issued their findings and found UAF committed violations of NCAA legislation. After the investigation concluded the case was submitted to the Committees through the summary disposition process, which is an alternative to a formal hearing before the Committees that may be utilized when the NCAA enforcement staff, the member institution, and involved individuals agree to the facts of an infractions case and that those facts constitute violations of NCAA legislation. UAF requested an expedited hearing to challenge some of the Committees’ proposed penalties.

Read more... [The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Alaska Fairbanks (Division I and Division II)]
 

Leach v. James, ESPN, and Spaeth Communications: Amarillo Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 22:03

Current Washington State University head football coach Mike Leach (“Leach”) filed suit against Craig James, ESPN, and Spaeth Communications (collectively “Defendants”) alleging the Defendants “uttered falsehoods against him as they endeavored to terminate or otherwise interfere with his contractual relationship” with Texas Tech University (“Tech”).  This matter resulted from Leach ordering Craig James’ son, Adam James, to stand in a dark room during practice after suffering a concussion. Craig James became incensed and contacted Tech administrators and members of the board of regents to complain of Leach’s behavior. After an investigation and subsequent disagreements, Leach was terminated by Tech. Following his termination, Leach sued the Defendants and set forth claims for defamation, tortious interference with a contract, and civil conspiracy to tortuously interfere with his contract. The trial court dismissed his claims against the Defendants and the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling.

Read more... [Leach v. James, ESPN, and Spaeth Communications: Amarillo Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal]
 

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 24 November 2014 22:47

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (“UAPB”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. After the investigation concluded the case was submitted to the Committee through the summary disposition process, which is an alternative to a formal hearing before the Committee that may be utilized when the NCAA enforcement staff, the member institution, and involved individuals agree to the facts of an infractions case and that those facts constitute violations of NCAA legislation. UAPB contested two of the penalties proposed by the Committee, thus an expedited hearing was as it relates to the penalties.

Read more... [The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff]
 

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Northeastern University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 24 November 2014 22:14

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that Northeastern University (“NU”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. After the investigation concluded the case was submitted to the Committee through the summary disposition process, which is an alternative to a formal hearing before the Committee that may be utilized when the NCAA enforcement staff, the member institution, and involved individuals agree to the facts of an infractions case and that those facts constitute violations of NCAA legislation.

Read more... [The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Northeastern University]
 

Federal Judge Issues Injunction Barring New Jersey’s Latest Sports Betting Plan

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 24 November 2014 16:19

Late last Friday, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp issued a permanent injunction prohibiting New Jersey from implementing its latest attempt to legalize sports betting. The NCAA and the major sports leagues (“Leagues”) were again successful in upholding the standards of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PAPSA”), a federal law signed by President George H.W. Bush that was designed to prevent athletes and coaches from purposely affecting the outcome of games. In short, Judge Shipp ruled states can repeal their prohibition on sports betting (following the Third Circuit decision indicating there is a way around PAPSA) and are permitted to “decide the exact contours” of how to prohibit sports betting within the confines of any given state. Judge Shipp further stated:

Read more... [Federal Judge Issues Injunction Barring New Jersey’s Latest Sports Betting Plan]
 

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Weber State University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 20:01

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that Weber State University (“WSU”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. The case involved academic fraud at WSU. It also involves a former developmental math instructor. WSU, the math instructor and the NCAA enforcement staff substantially agreed academic fraud violations occurred during spring 2013. Specifically, the parties agreed the math instructor completed online quizzes, tests and exams for five student-athletes, resulting in fraudulent academic credit. While the parties agreed the violations occurred, they disagreed over the appropriate violations level. The Committee considered the record including the parties' submissions, presentations and information developed at the September 12, 2014 hearing. The Committee concluded academic fraud occurred; however, the Committee did not conclude WSU failed to monitor.

Read more... [The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Weber State University]
 
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