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College Sports Law Blog



The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Texas Tech University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:06

The NCAA Committee on Infractions ("Committee") recently issued its findings and found that the Texas Tech University ("Tech") committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case primarily pertains to 926 impermissible text messages sent to 62 prospective student-athletes ("prospect") and 25 impermissible text messages sent to the parent of a prospect. 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 major violations of NCAA legislation.

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Guillory v. NCAA: Defamation Suit

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 23:49

In recent years, the NCAA has been hit with a rash of lawsuits relating to findings and information gathered during the enforcement process. The NCAA has defended against claims for antitrust (Gaines v. NCAA), tortious interference with a contract (Harrick v. NCAA), and defamation (Keller v. NCAA).  Most recently, the NCAA fought off University of Alabama boosters following the 2002 infractions case in which Logan Young, Wendell Smith, and Ray Keller (not named specifically) were labeled “rouge boosters.”    In the same vein, Rodney Guillory has filed suit against the NCAA seeking $25 million in damages.

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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Arizona State University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 14:30

The NCAA Committee on Infractions ("Committee") recently issued its findings and found that Arizona State University ("ASU") committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case involved ASU's baseball program and primarily dealt with violations pertaining to impermissible telephone calls consisting of at least five hundred (500) impermissible telephone calls, improper reductions to financial aid during the term of the award, violations of coaching staff limits including the improper categorization of coaches as managers, the improper use of an outside consultant, and payment to student-athletes for work not performed. The NCAA enforcement staff and ASU were in agreement as it relates to many of the violations committed, but disagreed as it pertains to charges for lack of institutional control, failure to monitor and promote an atmosphere of compliance (in some respects), and that many of the violations had elements of secondary violations rather than major violations.

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Strict Penalties for Violators?

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 22:04

The media and fans all across the country have not been shy in their disgust for the NCAA’s decision to levy penalties on violating institutions.  The common response is something to the effect of why me? or everyone is doing it.  Although everyone may be doing it, the NCAA enforcement staff is charged with eliminating the membership of rampant violations of NCAA rules, which leads to an abundance questions and concerns.  Simply put, the question is do the NCAA’s enforcement policies work?  These questions are not uncommon in the legal field and often revolve around jail time and capital punishment.  Is jail really a deterrent?  Is the death penalty really a deterrent? These questions are debated at length in about every forum imaginable, as are those related to NCAA enforcement and penalties.  Some would argue the fear of facing the NCAA Committee on Infractions is a deterrent that keeps bad actors at bay.  However, Illinois State University professor Chad McEvoy's research data indicates institutions that have been sanctioned by the NCAA are actually more successful than the institutions that have not been sanctioned.

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Is the Coach-in-Waiting Designation a Thing of the Past?

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Thursday, 16 December 2010 16:17

There is no question that serving as a college football coach is a difficult job that is both time consuming and stressful.  How many people would really take a job where their employment fate hinged on 18-22 year old young men?  There probably are not many people that would accept such a circumstance.  However, college football coaches are compensated handsomely and there are plenty of able coaches waiting in line for a seven figure contract.

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Mike Leach Sues ESPN for Slander

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 06 December 2010 20:15

Mike Leach is back in the media, but not for wins or losses and not for his unquestioned desire to be a pirate.  Coach Leach has sued ESPN for slander surrounding comments during the Alamo Bowl by an ESPN television personality that seemed to indicate that Coach Leach required a student-athlete to practice while having a concussion or face harsh treatment.  Several comments made during the Alamo Bowl game drew the concern of the ESPN ombudsman in which the statement was made that some of the commentary was not neutral. 

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The Saga that is Cam Newton

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 06 December 2010 20:13

Cam Newton has led Auburn University (“Auburn”) to a perfect season, but a severe case of heartburn for Tiger fans seems like only days away.  Last week, Cam Newton was rightfully declared ineligible for competition by Auburn after the NCAA determined it had enough information to find that Newton’s father, a Georgia minister, shopped him to Mississippi State University (“MSU”).  The employment of a scholarship agent is prohibited by NCAA Bylaw 12.3.3.  As a result of the alleged employment of a MSU alum to secure $180,000.00 in exchange for Cam Newton’s signature on a National Letter of Intent, Auburn pulled Cam Newton from competition in accordance with NCAA Bylaw 14.11.1 and, subsequently, sought reinstatement of his athletic eligibility.  As has been heavily reported, Cam Newton’s eligibility was quickly reinstated and he went on to lead Auburn to a SEC Championship.  At this point, there is no evidence linking Cam Newton to the alleged pay for play scandal other than a report that he told a recruiter in an emotional telephone conversation that he was going to Auburn because “the money was too much.”  As such, the NCAA felt that Cam Newton was not a culpable party at this stage of the investigation.

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United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Finds that NCAA Regulations on Lacrosse Sticks are Not Anticompetitive

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 20:50

Warriors Sports, Inc. (“Warrior”) set forth an antitrust claim against the NCAA in accordance with Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The case involves the NCAA’s regulations relating to lacrosse stick heads that may be used in collegiate play.  Warrior alleged that these rules are particularly influential because they not only govern the sticks that may be used in collegiate lacrosse, but they are also adopted by most of the sports’ governing bodies, such as the National Federation of High School Sports.

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NCAA Denies the University of Kentucky’s Request for Reinstatement for Enes Kanter

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 15 November 2010 21:31

Enes Kanter is a Turkish national who was rated one of the top men’s basketball recruits in the country and he chose to join Coach Calipari at the University of Kentucky.  Prior to arriving in the United States, Enes competed for Fenerbache, a Turkish club team, from 2006 to 2009.  Enes primarily competed for the under-18 junior team, but did compete on the club’s senior team during the 2008-2009 season.  According to the information reported by multiple media outlets and the NCAA, Enes received $33,033.00 more than his reasonable and necessary expenses. 

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The NCAA is Working with the NFLPA and NFL: Penalties for Student-Athletes after Entering the NFL?

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 09 November 2010 00:05

It has been widely reported that the NCAA has been in communications with the NFL and NFLPA relating to potential penalties for student-athletes who accepted benefits from an athlete-agent during their enrollment at an NCAA institution.  Although the verdict is still out on whether the NFL will adopt such penalties, athlete-agents and players are not so sure the proposed penalties are a step in the right direction.  In fact, the NFLPA stepped out late last week and indicated the players would be opposed to such penalties.  There are many questions that still remain, but a fundamental question is whether such a term is a mandatory subject of collective bargaining.

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