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College Sports Law Blog



Keeping Information Close to the Vest did not Help Jim Tressel

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 21:24

During the bowl season, it was widely reported that several Ohio State University (“OSU”) football student-athletes received benefits (i.e., tattoos) for the sale of their equipment and championship rings.  Journalists and fans exploded in disgust when it was announced the football student-athletes would be suspended for five (5) football contests, but could compete in the Sugar Bowl.  Many argued OSU received preferential treatment from the NCAA.  However, OSU took advantage of having a large compliance staff and a rare exception of NCAA legislation to allow the student-athletes to compete in the postseason event.  The frenzy finally seemed to have concluded until earlier this week when it was reported that OSU head football coach Jim Tressel had knowledge of the infractions in April 2010, but failed to disclose such infractions to OSU and NCAA investigators.

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Harvard Law School: Sports Law Symposium

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 18:17

On Friday, March 25, 2011, Harvard Law School is hosting a sports law symposium titled The Changing Face of Intercollegiate Athletics: Amateurs, Academics, and the Athletic Arms Race.  The symposium has five (5) panels discussing topics such as amateurism, conference realignment, athlete-agents, litigating against the NCAA, and the BCS.  Additionally, Sonny Vaccaro will be delivering a keynote address that will surely be interesting and insightful.  I will be presenting on the amateurism panel and likely discussing amateurism as it pertains to the NCAA.  If you are in the greater Boston area, please attend and learn from the distinguished presenters.  The symposium is free of charge and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  For more information about the symposium click here.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Connecticut

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 16:47
The NCAA Committee on Infractions ("Committee") recently issued its findings and found that the University of Connecticut ("UConn") committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case resulted from the "extraordinary steps" taken by UConn's men's basketball coaching staff to recruit a blue chip prospective student-athlete ("Prospect") with the involvement of a representative of UConn's athletic interests ("Representative"). The Representative is an alumnus of the institution who served as a manager for the men's basketball team during his enrollment at UConn and maintained an ongoing relationship with the men's basketball coaching staff. The Representative serves as a business advisor for former UConn men's basketball players and was certified as an athlete agent by the NBA.
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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of California, Berkeley

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 28 February 2011 00:38

The NCAA Committee on Infractions ("Committee") recently issued its findings and found that the University of California, Berkeley ("Cal") committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case was narrow in scope and related to violations of NCAA rules governing recruiting telephone calls committed by Cal's men's basketball coaching staff from April 2008 to late October 2008.  The violations were detected by Cal's compliance staff and self-reported to the NCAA.

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Alabama Takes Athlete-Agent Laws Seriously

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Sunday, 27 February 2011 15:35

In these difficult economic times, many states simply do not have the resources to investigate and prosecute athlete-agents who run afoul of state legislation.  In past years, Texas and Missouri, among others, have been aggressive in levying fines and even arresting nefarious athlete-agents. Alabama is now joining the ranks of the aggressive.  Last week, Raymond Savage Jr. was arrested for violating Alabama Athlete-Agent Laws five (5) years ago in relation to his recruitment of a University of Alabama football student-athlete.

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Will College Football Postseason Go Radical?

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Sunday, 27 February 2011 15:16

If Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has anything to say about postseason college football, there will be a playoff and it will be radical.  The creative and controversial owner of the Dallas Mavericks has devised a plan to induce universities to compete in a playoff system by paying universities an unspecified amount every five (5) years in exchange for the universities agreement to compete in a college football playoff system, if chosen.  Cuban has thrown out large numbers in his efforts to induce universities to take part in his system ranging in the area of $500 million.  Many in the Dallas/Fort Worth area thought Cuban was simply testing the waters, but it appears he is serious.  On December 28, 2010, Cuban registered Radical Football, LLC with the Texas Secretary of State and employs an employee to move his efforts forward.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Southern Indiana (Division II)

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Friday, 11 February 2011 23:28
The NCAA Committee on Infractions ("Committee") recently issued its findings and found that the University of Southern Indiana ("USI") committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case involved the conduct of the men's basketball coaching staff relating to extra benefits and academic fraud. Officials from USI initially appeared before the Committee on August 12, 2010 and again appeared before the Committee on December 12, 2010 after additional allegations were made against the former head men's basketball coach.
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The Big O Joins O’Bannon in His Fight Against the NCAA

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:26

In late January 2011, the legendary basketball star Oscar Robertson (“Robertson”) joined Ed O’Bannon and a class of others in their fight against the NCAA.  Robertson is a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the NBA Hall of Fame and uniformly considered a class act and a strong member of the community.  Robertson was a member of the University of Cincinnati’s basketball team concluding in 1960 and at seventy-two (72) years old is far removed from his days running on the hardwood.  As reported by Yahoo Sports, Robertson indicated the NCAA signs licensing deals without his direct consent and the University of Cincinnati gets a fee each time his image is used on a trading card, yet he does not receive a dollar.  In the new complaint on file with the United States District Court in San Francisco, Robertson states his “collegiate image continues to be licensed without his consent…and sold for profit” without his approval, which is contrary to Robertson’s arrangements relating to the use of his image as a professional athlete.

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Mansourian v. University of California, Davis: Title IX Suit Moving Forward

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 19:41

On December 18, 2003, Arezou Mansourian, Lauren Mancuso, and Christine Wing-Si Ng (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed suit against the University of California, Davis (“UCD”) and four (4) university officials (collectively “Defendants”) complaining that Defendants deprived them of their opportunity to participate in varsity athletics at UCD and setting forth a civil rights claim under Section 1983. Plaintiffs claim they were wrestlers in high school and were attracted to UCD by the opportunity to participate on the varsity wrestling team.  In 2000, all female wrestlers were removed from the varsity wrestling team after UCD employed roster caps,.  The wrestling coach removed all female wrestlers from the competitive roster, but allowed them to participate in practice.  Ultimately, in 2001, Plaintiffs were returned to the competitive roster and allowed to participate in practice and compete in open meets.

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Leavitt v. University of South Florida: A Settlement Has Been Reached

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 08 February 2011 15:09

Following the 2009 football season, University of South Florida’s (“USF”) head football coach, Jim Leavitt (“Leavitt”) was terminated for allegedly grabbing a student-athlete by the throat and striking him twice at halftime of a football competition held on November 21, 2009.  Leavitt vehemently denied the allegations, but was, nonetheless, terminated for cause in accordance with his contract by USF on January 8, 2010.  Subsequently, in March 2010, Leavitt (now a coach on the San Francisco 49ers’ staff) filed suit in Hillsborough County, Florida alleging claims for breach of contract, complaint for mandamus for access to requested public records, and declaratory and injunctive relief. 

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