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College Sports Law Blog



The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Morehead State University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 20 February 2017 20:27

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that Morehead State University (“MSU” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved progress-toward-degree violations in several sport programs at MSU. 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 probation. Because the Institution agreed to the violations and penalties, there is no opportunity to appeal.

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Memo of the NLRB Office of the General Counsel: Student-Athletes are Employees under the NLRA

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 13 February 2017 17:53

On January 31, 2017, Richard F. Griffin, Jr., General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), issued Memorandum GC 17-01 (“Memo”).  The Memo is titled “General Counsel’s Report on the Statutory Rights of University Faculty and Students in the Unfair Labor Practice Context.”  The Memo addresses a few different cases; however, this blog will focus on the discussion made in reference to student-athletes.

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Alston v. NCAA: The Parties Settle for in Excess of $208 million

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 13 February 2017 17:01

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 White plaintiffs reached a settlement that allowed student-athletes in the class to have access to funds for educational purposes.  The White settlement was in excess of $210 million.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Baylor University 2016

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 16 January 2017 22:49

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that Baylor University (“Baylor” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. The case involved the football program at Baylor.Specifically, two assistant football coaches exceeded the limitations on evaluations and contacts of two prospective student-athletes in the spring of 2015 and another assistant football coach personally attended a contest in which a future opponent competed. The violations occurred because the coaches thought they had found "loopholes" that allowed them to count only evaluations of prospects they intended to watch, rather than those they actually watched, and to engage in brief, "fan-like" exchanges with the prospects. The Panel concluded the violations regarding excessive evaluations and contacts are Level II violations. When the third assistant football coach personally observed part of a football contest involving a future opponent of the Institution, he committed a Level III violation. This case was limited to those issues, and the Panel did not consider any other information.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: California State University, Northridge

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 22:25

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that California State University, Northridge (“Cal State” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved the men's basketball program at Cal State. The men's basketball violations centered on academic misconduct and the provision of impermissible academic benefits by the former director of basketball operations. The former director of basketball operations also acted unethically by knowingly committing academic misconduct on behalf of ten (10) men's basketball student-athletes. The Institution also failed to investigate and monitor the activities of the former director of basketball operations.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Appalachian State University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Friday, 30 December 2016 22:28

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that Appalachian State University (“App State” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved a text message violation committed by a former assistant football coach at App State. 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 and the former assistant coach. Because they agreed to the violation and penalties, there is no opportunity to appeal.

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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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