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College Sports Law Blog



Oklahoma State v. Wickline: Fight Over Play-Calling Duties

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 23 October 2014 15:42

Joe Wickline, co-offensive coordinator at the University of Texas (“UT”), was recently sued by Oklahoma State University (“OSU”) and he, then, filed a countersuit. OSU, Wickline’s former employer of nine years, argues it is entitled to liquidated damages in the amount of $593,487.00 because Wickline breached his contract when exiting for UT. Under the terms of his contract with OSU, Wickline was permitted to leave OSU without penalty if he accepted an offensive coordinator job with “play-calling duties” or received a job in the National Football League. Charlie Strong, UT’s head football coach, also hired Shawn Watson to serve as co-offensive coordinator. OSU argues Watson is calling the offensive plays for UT, thus Wickline must meet the liquidated damages requirements of his contract. To the contrary, in his countersuit filed in Travis County (Austin, Texas), Wickline argues he is calling plays for UT. In sum, if a settlement is not reached, the court will have to determine whether Wickline has play-calling duties.

Read more... [Oklahoma State v. Wickline: Fight Over Play-Calling Duties]
 

Sackos v. NCAA: Former Student-Athlete Sues NCAA and Division I Schools for Alleged Violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 23 October 2014 15:17

Samantha Sackos (“Sackos”) was a women’s soccer student-athlete at the University of Houston from 2010 through the 2013-14 academic year. She recently filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis naming the NCAA and all NCAA Division I member institutions as defendants (collectively “NCAA”). In her complaint, Sackos alleges the NCAA violated the wage-and-hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq.) by failing to pay student-athletes at least minimum wage. Sackos sets forth this action “on behalf of herself and all NCAA Division I student athletes participating in women’s and men’s sports at any time within the statute of limitations and through the date of the final judgment, or of the resolution of any appeal therefrom.”

Read more... [Sackos v. NCAA: Former Student-Athlete Sues NCAA and Division I Schools for Alleged Violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act]
 

Marshall v. ESPN: 10 Former Student-Athletes Sue Television Broadcasters, Conferences, and Others for Use of their Names, Images, and Likenesses in Television Broadcasts

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Friday, 10 October 2014 14:39

Javon Marshall, Eric Samuels and Steven Clarke from Vanderbilt University, Sean Parker of the University of Washington, Patrick Miller of Tennessee State University, Rod Wilks, Byron Moore, Chaz Moore and Marlon Walls of the University of Tennessee and Chris Conner of the University of Maryland (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed suit against, among others, ESPN, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pacific 12 Conference, Southeastern Conference, Ohio Valley Conference, Big East Conference, IMG College, Learfield Sports, and William Morris Endeavors (collectively “Defendants”). The Plaintiffs have filed suit against television broadcasters, athletic conferences, and licensing entities who “conspired with each other and the NCAA to promulgate, enforce, adopt, implement and/or exploit rules that are inherently anticompetitive in forbidding Student Athletes from competing in the marketplace for the value of their rights of publicity.” The Plaintiffs argue the release student-athletes are required to sign is “void as a matter of public policy, unconscionable, and vague.” Accordingly, Plaintiffs filed suit under theories of right of publicity, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, violations of the Sherman Act, and violations of the Lanham Act.

Read more... [Marshall v. ESPN: 10 Former Student-Athletes Sue Television Broadcasters, Conferences, and Others for Use of their Names, Images, and Likenesses in Television Broadcasts]
 

Ferraro v. UCF: Claims for Discriminatory Actions

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 02 October 2014 20:52

Paul Ferraro, former defensive coordinator for the University of Central Florida football team, filed suit against the Board of Trustees of the University of Central Florida and the UCF Athletics Association, Inc. (collectively “UCF”). Ferraro claims UCF’s head football coach George O’Leary “berated” him and others with designs of removing Ferraro from his position in favor of another coach. Ferraro further claimed that O’Leary “created a work environment that was permeated by bullying, threatening behavior, and repeated discriminatory epithets” including making “discriminatory remarks” about individuals of Italian, African-American, and Jewish decent. Claiming he “had enough” of O’Leary’s behavior, Ferraro sent an email to O’Leary objecting to his actions. Without resigning, Ferraro indicated UCF informed him of his resignation despite never tendering his resignation. As a result of the aforementioned allegations, Ferraro filed suit for breach of contract seeking in excess of $15,000.00 in damages. Ferraro also filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC asserting a claim for retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Georgia Institute of Technology

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 14:19

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that the Georgia Institute of Technology (“GT”) committed major 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: Georgia Institute of Technology]
 

THE NCAA COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS HAS SPOKEN: CHEYNEY UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA (DIVISION II)

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 21:57

The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently released its findings and found that Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (“CU”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case involved and centered around violations of NCAA legislation governing certification of initial, transfer and continuing eligibility involving all of CU’s sports programs during the 2007-08 through 2010-11 academic years. It should be noted that CU was considered a “repeat violator” in accordance with NCAA Bylaw 19.5.2.3.1 and, thus, was subject to enhanced penalties as set forth in NCAA Bylaw 19.5.2.3. The prior infractions case processed in 2007 and had similar eligibility certification violations.

Read more... [THE NCAA COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS HAS SPOKEN: CHEYNEY UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA (DIVISION II)]
 

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Saint Francis University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 16:34

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that the Saint Francis University (“SFU”) 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: Saint Francis University]
 

Ross v. University of Tulsa: Title IX Suit

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 19:33

On August 18, 2014, a former student at the University of Tulsa (“TU”) filed suit against TU for alleged violations of Title IX (and other common law causes of action). In pertinent part, the former student claims she was sexually assaulted by a member of TU’s men’s basketball team at his on-campus apartment. The plaintiff alleges the student-athlete had a history of sexual violence and TU was aware of other claims made against the student-athlete, but TU refused to act to protect female students. Further, the plaintiff alleges TU failed to investigate the alleged sexual assault and conducted a sham disciplinary hearing, which ultimately led to the student-athlete being allowed to remain on campus and cleared to take part in intercollegiate athletics activities.

Read more... [Ross v. University of Tulsa: Title IX Suit]
 

O’Bannon v. NCAA: Summarizing the Court’s Opinion

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 25 August 2014 13:55

On August 8, 2014, the Honorable Claudia Wilken issued an opinion finding “the challenged NCAA rules unreasonably restrain trade in the market for certain educational and athletic opportunities offered by NCAA Division I schools.” The following will address the Court’s analysis of the pertinent points of the case.

Read more... [O’Bannon v. NCAA: Summarizing the Court’s Opinion]
 

ACC and Maryland Settle Exit Fee Dispute

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 15:09

In late 2012, the University of Maryland (“Maryland”) announced that it would exit the Atlantic Coast Conference (“ACC”) to join the Big 10 Conference (“Big 10”).   Shortly thereafter, on November 26, 2012, the ACC filed suit against Maryland seeking to enforce the exit fee of the termination procedures as set forth in Section IV-5 of the ACC Bylaws. According to Section IV-5 of the ACC Bylaws, a withdrawing member shall be subject to a withdrawal payment in an amount “equal to three (3) times the total operating budget of the Conference (including any contingency included therein), approved in accordance with Section V-1 of the Conference Bylaws, which is in effect as of the date of the official notice of withdrawal.” In 2012-13, the ACC’s operating budget was $17,422,114.00. According to Section IV-5, Maryland would owe the ACC the total amount of $52,266,342.00.  

Read more... [ACC and Maryland Settle Exit Fee Dispute]
 
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