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College Sports Law Blog



Will the NCAA Consider Cheerleading a Sport?

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 29 December 2016 17:35

A common question when addressing Title IX is whether cheerleading is a sport. Colleges and universities have argued that cheerleading is a sport for the purposes of Title IX and, specifically, have argued  competitive cheer teams are engaged in intercollegiate athletic competition.  In Biediger v. Quinnipiac University, the United States District Court, District of Connecticut (“District Court”) ruled and the Second Circuit affirmed that the thirty (30) roster positions for competitive cheerleading members could not be counted for Title IX purposes because the activity did not “yet” afford women genuine participation opportunities in a varsity sport.  The District Court stated “acro lacks what every other varsity men’s team sponsored by Quinnipiac enjoys: the chance to participate in an NCAA-sponsored championship.”  The District Court further stated acrobatics and tumbling are not recognized by the NCAA as a sport or an emerging sport. 

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Southern University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Friday, 09 December 2016 17:28

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that Southern University (“SU” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case centered on an expansive, systemic breakdown in the eligibility certification process at SU that caused numerous violations of multiple NCAA bylaws. The Institution also violated financial aid legislation when it improperly awarded financial aid in multiple sports. Further, the Institution failed to comply with penalties prescribed by the NCAA's Committee on Academic Performance (“CAP”) because the Institution had failed to attain academic performance standards. Collectively, these failures demonstrate that the Institution lacked control over certain aspects of its athletics program.

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Berger v. NCAA: Student-Athletes Are Not Employees Under the FLSA

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 08 December 2016 22:14

Former student-athletes at the University of Pennsylvania (“Penn”) filed suit against Penn, the NCAA, and more than 120 other NCAA Division I member institutions. In the suit, the plaintiffs alleged that student-athletes are “employees” within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201. Therefore, the plaintiffs contend the NCAA and its member institutions violated the FLSA by not paying student-athletes a minimum wage. The District Court disagreed with the plaintiffs and dismissed their claims. The Seventh Circuit agreed with the District Court and held “student athletes are not employees and are not covered by the FLSA.”

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Notre Dame

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 20:27

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of Notre Dame (“ND” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved academic violations in the ND football program. The Panel considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which all parties agreed to the primary facts and violations, as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (SDR). The Panel proposed further penalties to the Institution, including vacation of team records. The Institution challenged the appropriateness of the proposed vacation of team records at an expedited penalty hearing. The Institution has the opportunity to appeal that penalty.

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Vassar v. NCAA and Northwestern University: Antitrust Suit on Transfer Restrictions

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 17 November 2016 22:04

On November 14, 2016, Johnnie Vassar (“Johnnie”), a former point guard at Northwestern University (“Northwestern”), filed suit against the NCAA and Northwestern. In the suit, Johnnie alleges that Northwestern improperly removed him from athletics aid and placed him on general aid and NCAA transfer regulations for basketball student-athletes violate antitrust laws.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: San Jose State University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 20:17

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that San Jose State University (“SJSU” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved the women's basketball program at SJSU. It centered on the head coach failing to meet his responsibility to set an atmosphere for rules compliance by conducting impermissible out-of-season countable athletically related activities (CARA) over three semesters and directing a nonqualifier student-athlete to participate in team CARA. The head coach later provided false or misleading information regarding the nonqualifying student-athlete's participation. The Panel concludes the violations are Level II and Level III. The Committee found SJSU committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Alabama State University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 19:45

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that Alabama State University (“ASU” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved a failure to monitor student-athlete bookstore purchases by ASU. It also involved the Institution's softball program exceeding time limits for countable athletically related activities (CARA). The Panel considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which all parties agree to the primary facts, violations and violation levels as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (“SDR”). Because the Institution agreed to the violations and penalties, there is no opportunity to appeal.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Alcorn State University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 21:43

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that Alcorn State University (“ASU” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. The Panel considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which all parties agree to the primary facts, violations and violation levels as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (“SDR”). Because the Institution agreed to the violations and penalties, there is no opportunity to appeal.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Mississippi

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 15:06

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of Mississippi (“UM” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved two athletics programs - women's basketball and track and field - and eight involved individuals at the UM. The women's basketball violations centered on academic fraud while the track and field violations involved impermissible tryouts, inducements, transportation and recruiting. The violations in both programs were complicated by some staff and student-athletes attempting to cover up the conduct by providing false and misleading information and/or failing to cooperate. Both former head coaches also failed to fulfill their head coaching responsibilities.

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NLRB Advice Memo: Northwestern University’s Football Handbook

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 11 October 2016 22:04

The Regional Director of Region 13 sought advice from the NLRB as to whether certain rules in Northwestern University’s Football Handbook were unlawfully overbroad in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).   NLRB concluded that rules in the Football Handbook set forth below were unlawful until they were modified in response to the charge filed.  Therefore, the NLRB advised the Region to dismiss the charge, absent withdrawal.

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