Category Archives: NCAA

NCAA Rules Ole Miss Lacked Control Over Football Program

On December 1, 2017, an NCAA panel decided that the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) promoted an “unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting,” and handed out more penalties to the school over recruiting misconduct, including impermissible benefits given to athletic prospects and academic fraud. The decision comes from a case against Ole Miss for 21 allegations of NCAA rule violations over a five year period, including providing prospective athletes with cash, housing, apparel, and other improper benefits. The NCAA panel found that the…

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NCAA, Pac-12 Want Ninth Circuit on their Side in Student-Athlete Wage Suit

The NCAA and the Pac-12 filed a brief asking the Ninth Circuit to uphold the dismissal of a wage action brought by a former USC football player, arguing that not paying student-athletes is precisely what makes them amateurs. “FBS [Football Bowl Subdivision] football players are not Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Employees because amateurism — a system in which compensation is explicitly prohibited — ‘defines the economic reality’ of their activity.” The brief further argued the state law claims failed because California defines the players…

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Judge Gives Final Approval of NCAA’s $209 Million Settlement

On November 17, 2017, California U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken announced she will grant the final approval to the $209 million settlement for student-athletes from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and 11 athletic conferences. The settlement includes a $41.7 million fee request for class counsel, which amounts to 20 percent of the settlement’s common fund. The settlement partially resolves several lawsuits that were consolidated in 2014 in California’s Northern District. The lawsuit challenged the NCAA’s rules prohibiting universities from paying students more than a…

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Estate of Former UNC Player Sues NCAA and ACC

The estate of former University of North Carolina offensive lineman, Ryan Hoffman, has sued both the ACC and NCAA on claims of negligence, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment in relation to head injuries Hoffman sustained while playing for UNC. The action seeks to establish a class action including former UNC players or their representatives. Hoffman’s suit alleges the ACC and NCAA failed to provide adequate medical attention addressing severe and/or multiple concussions, failed to protect Hoffman and other players from brain trauma leading to…

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Adidas Executive Asserts No Universities Defrauded in NCAA Bribe Case

On November 15, 2017, the attorney for Adidas executive Jim Gatto told a Manhattan federal judge that no colleges were defrauded. Gatto was charged in a bribery scheme to pay college basketball athletes to play for Adidas-sponsored schools and to hire certain agents after they went professional. Gatto was arrested in September and was Adidas’ head of global sports marketing directed at basketball. In addition, Merl Code, an Adidas consultant, and Christian Dawkins, a former NBA agent, pled not guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges.…

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NCAA Hopes for Slam Dunk in Trademark Infringement Suit

The NCAA, on November 13, 2017, asked for a default judgment and a permanent injunction against Kizzang LLC and its owner, Robert Alexander, for alleged trademark infringement of “March Madness” and “Final Four.” A judge had issued a stipulated order back in March under which Alexander and Kizzang agreed not to use “April Madness” or “Final 3” in its online fantasy games. The suit was originally filed in March 2017, less than a week before the NCAA’s annual Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. It…

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Eight People Indicted in NCAA Bribery Scandal

A series of indictments unsealed on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 reveal more of the iceberg of the dark underbelly of college basketball. The scandal was publicized in September when ten individuals were arrested. The new indictments named Adidas executive Jim Gatto, sports agent Christian Dawkins, Auburn University associate head coach Chuck Person, Oklahoma State University assistant coach Lamont Evans, University of Arizona assistant coach Emanuel Richardson, University of Southern California assistant coach Anthony Bland, former Adidas adviser Merl Code and former NCAA referee Rashan Michel.…

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Student-Athletes Square Up Against Lone Objector to Attorneys Fee Award in $209 Million NCAA Settlement

The fight over legal fees from the second-largest class-action settlement in NCAA history continues. One sole student-athlete objected to the $41 million attorneys’ fee award, which is 20 percent of the $208.7 million settlement. NCAA Division I football player, Darrin Duncan, called the fee award unfair and wanted to apply to the “mega fund rule,” which decreases fee awards as the settlement total increases. Plaintiffs’ class counsel had argued back in September that the fee request was reasonable considering the Ninth Circuit’s 25 percent fee…

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NCAA Dribbles the Idea of Fundamental Internal Change

NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics on October 30, 2017 and asserted that major changes are needed in college basketball to demonstrate to the public that the NCAA can properly run the sport. “We cannot go to the next basketball season without seeing fundamental change in the way college basketball is operated,” Emmert said. “The public doesn’t have sufficient confidence in any of us in terms of our ability to resolve these issues.” Emmert cited to a recent NCAA-commissioned…

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NCAA Says UNC “Sham” Classes Did Not Violate Rules

On October 13, 2017, an NCAA panel ruled that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) did not violate NCAA policy for offering “sham” classes. The issues in the case were discovered in August 2011 and the following three years in which UNC conducted a number of internal and external reviews. The reviews led to a criminal indictment against Julius Nyang’oro, the former chair of the department of the “sham” classes, for obtaining property by false pretenses. Those charges were later dropped. A…

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