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College Sports Law Blog



Marucci Sports v. NCAA and NFHS: Fifth Circuit Affirms Motion to Dismiss

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 08 May 2014 14:13

Marucci Sports, LLC (“Marucci”) filed suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) and National Federation of State High School Associations (“NFHS”) alleging that the NCAA and NFHS imposed a regulation that restrains trade in the market for non-wood baseball bats in violation of the Sherman Act and other state laws. Specifically, Marucci alleged that the Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution Standard (“BBCOR Standard”) was designed to protect the NCAA’s interest in receiving sponsorship money from larger bat manufacturers such as Rawlings, Easton, DeMarini, and Louisville Slugger (“Incumbent Manufacturers”) and exclude new market entrants like Marucci. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana granted the NCAA’s and NFHS’s motion to dismiss and, on appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the ruling.

Read more... [Marucci Sports v. NCAA and NFHS: Fifth Circuit Affirms Motion to Dismiss]
 

Floyd v. NCAA and Division I Conferences: Antitrust Lawsuit Filed in Minnesota

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Friday, 02 May 2014 14:53

Sharrif Floyd and six other student-athletes have filed a class action suit against the NCAA, Big 10, Pac-12, Big 12, SEC, ACC, AAC, Atlantic Sun, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt. The Plaintiffs argue that the Defendants have “jointly agreed and conspired with their member institutions…to deny these athletes compensation they would otherwise receive for their services in a competitive market.” There are a number of lawsuits currently pending relating to compensation for student-athletes, financial aid packages, and the cost of attendance. This lawsuit adds two wrinkles that have not been previously addressed: 1) the Plaintiffs sued the NCAA and conferences (other lawsuits have included only the major five conferences); and 2) the class has a female representative and, thus, the Plaintiffs are seeking additional “compensation” for female student-athletes.

Read more... [Floyd v. NCAA and Division I Conferences: Antitrust Lawsuit Filed in Minnesota]
 

Student-Athlete Likeness Litigation Headed To Trial

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Friday, 18 April 2014 13:43

It appears as though the NCAA student-athlete name and likeness litigation case is heading to trial after U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken denied the NCAA’s motion for summary judgment.

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NCAA Council Approves Meals, Other Student-Athlete Well-Being Rules

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 17 April 2014 18:33

The NCAA’s Legislative Council recently announced that Division I student-athletes can now receive unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with their athletics participation. This rule will apply to both scholarship student-athletes and walk-ons. Prior to this change, student-athletes only received three meals a day or a food stipend.

Read more... [NCAA Council Approves Meals, Other Student-Athlete Well-Being Rules]
 

Northwestern’s Football Players Are Permitted to Hold Election for Unionization

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 13:57

Football players receiving grant-in-aid scholarships from Northwestern University filed a petition under Section 9(c) of the National Labor Relations Act to be considered employees of the University for the purposes of collective-bargaining. The Employer, Northwestern University, asserted that its football players receiving scholarships should not be labeled employees under the Act. The University, or “Employer”, also stated its players were temporary employees who are not eligible for collective bargaining. Finally, the Employer contended that the petitioned-for-unit was arbitrary and not appropriate for bargaining.

Read more... [Northwestern’s Football Players Are Permitted to Hold Election for Unionization]
 

Jenkins v. NCAA: Another Antitrust Lawsuit Challenging the Athletic Scholarship

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 18:32

On the heels of last week’s filing of Alston v. NCAA, a group of plaintiffs have filed another antitrust suit against the NCAA relating to the limitations placed on athletics aid. This group is represented by famed antitrust/labor lawyer Jeffrey Kessler who is commonly known for representing the NFLPA and NBPA. Although Jenkins v. NCAA is similar to Alston v. NCAA, it is also quite different. Specifically, the Jenkins plaintiffs are not arguing that student-athletes should be entitled to receive athletics aid up to the full cost of attendance. The Jenkins plaintiffs claim they are entitled to compensation and, thus, the athletics scholarship model is a price fixing restraint on athlete compensation.

Read more... [Jenkins v. NCAA: Another Antitrust Lawsuit Challenging the Athletic Scholarship]
 

Oregon State Pitcher Suspended for Advisor’s Communication with Philadelphia Phillies

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 15:03

Oregon State University (“OSU”) pitcher Ben Wetzler was recently suspended 20% of OSU’s baseball contests. Wetzler was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 5th round of the 2013 major league draft. Such suspension occurred after an advisor for Wetzler had direct communications with the Philadelphia Phillies. The agent/advisor dynamic has created its share of problems for student-athletes over the years and has produced several litigated matters. The pertinent bylaws are as follows:

Read more... [Oregon State Pitcher Suspended for Advisor’s Communication with Philadelphia Phillies]
 

Alston v. NCAA: The Reincarnation of White v. NCAA

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 14:13

In 2006, in White v. NCAA, a group of student-athletes filed suit against the NCAA on antitrust grounds seeking to recover damages for the difference between the full cost of attendance and the NCAA’s version of an athletic scholarship (i.e., tuition, fees, room and board, and books). The difference between full cost of attendance and full grant-in-aid as defined by the NCAA is generally $1,500.00-$6,000.00 depending on the locale of the institution. In 2008, the NCAA and the plaintiffs reached a settlement that allowed student-athletes in the class to have access to funds for educational purposes. Since the settlement, the NCAA has proposed legislation to increase full grant-in-aid to allow for a stipend to be provided to the student-athletes. Legislation to that effect has been defeated.

Read more... [Alston v. NCAA: The Reincarnation of White v. NCAA]
 

Duke Sports & Entertainment Law Society -- 4th Annual Symposium

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:45

On February 7, 2014, Duke Law School will be hosting its 4th Annual Sports Law Symposium.  I will be speaking on Law of Sports Betting panel.  If you are in the area, please come by for a good discussion on sports law topics.

Read more... [Duke Sports & Entertainment Law Society -- 4th Annual Symposium]
 

Northwestern University Athletes Seek to Unionize

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:42

For the first time, a group of student-athletes at Northwestern University have sought to unionize and have filed a petition with the Chicago, Illinois office of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). Under federal labor law, the NLRB will conduct a vote of potential members to determine whether there is the requisite support (i.e., 30%) to have the National College Players Association serve as the union overseeing their interests. The NCAA has argued that student-athletes are not employees, which is supported by case law (Waldrep v. Texas Employers Insurance Association). However, that decision does not forbid the NLRB from finding that student-athletes are employees under the National Labor Relations Act.

Read more... [Northwestern University Athletes Seek to Unionize]
 
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